Agreement reached to finish C130 upgrade

  • Wayne Mapp

The Government and L3 Communications have reached agreement on completing the Air Force's C130 Hercules aircraft Life Extension Programme, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp announced today.

"The work will be done in New Zealand, much of it at Woodbourne in Blenheim in premises currently occupied by SafeAir," he said.

"The total contract with L3 Systems is for the five C130 aircraft. Two are close to completion and are expected to be returned to the Air Force for test and evaluation by the end of the year.

"It was originally intended that SafeAir could sub-contract for all five aircraft. However, they withdrew from doing the sub-contract work on the remaining three aircraft. That required a new contract involving L3 Systems, the Crown and SafeAir to complete the work on the remaining three aircraft.

"The first of the three aircraft is now expected to enter the modification programme early next year. Under the new agreement the work will be completed using the skills of the workforce in Blenheim," Dr Mapp said.

"The C130 contract follows a pattern of poor contracting under the previous Government. One of my key priorities has been to fix contracts, firstly for the Navy's Project Protector ships and now the C130 contract.

"I will now be focusing on the completion of the other key contracts, including the purchase of the helicopters and the completion of the P3 Orion upgrade contract," he said.

The C130 Life Extension Programme includes the refurbishment of the aircrafts' centre wings, refurbishment or replacement of other structural components, a major rewire, replacement of avionics systems, flight management, autopilot and navigation and communication suites. This will ensure that the aircraft continue to comply with evolving air traffic control regulations worldwide.

It will also ensure continued airworthiness of the airframes and improve supportability and reliability.