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Two NZDF Hercules C-130s back in action, one day after entire fleet grounded

The grounding of the New Zealand Defence Forces’ fleet of Hercules C-130s yesterday has been lifted, with two aircraft back in action today.

The entire fleet of five aircraft was grounded yesterday due to maintenance requirements or other faults, Radio New Zealand reported.

However, the miliary issued a statement today saying two of the planes are now available for “normal tasking”.

“One other aircraft is about to complete regular 35-day servicing and is likely to be back on Monday,” the statement read.

The remaining two aircraft are undergoing intermediate-level servicing which is required every 400 flight hours and takes 12 weeks to complete.

The announcement of the grounding was made yesterday by Defence Minister Ron Mark during a select committee hearing.

He told the committee that it was a “highly unusual situation”.

"It's not the fault of our engineers, it's not the fault of our crews, it's not the fault of our ground support people," he said, according to RNZ. "It's the fault of successive governments to pick up the tab and do what was right."

It comes as the Government this week announced the air force would be using $1 billion to replace the C-130 Hercules planes and would be looking to invest in long-range drones after 2030.

Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft
Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft Source: NZDF