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01:15 PM, June 11, 2019
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Lockheed Martin C-130J (image: Rushabh P Bafna)

New Zealand has chosen Lockheed Martin Corp's C-130J Super Hercules to replace five ageing C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft, the country's Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced in its Defence Capability Plan-2019 on Tuesday, that outlines investment worth $13 Billion (NZ $20 Billion) until 2030.

The contract is estimated to be worth over $659.5 million (NZ$1 billion). The number of C-130Js to be acquired has not been finalised, with the deal to be progressed through the US Foreign Military Sales process.

New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) expects to induct the choppers in 2023. The aircraft are required to transport NZDF personnel and cargo across the South Pacific and Antarctica and to support coalition operations further afield.

New Zealand had an option to choose between Lockheed C-130J, Airbus A400M and Embraer SA KC-390 to replace the country's 1960s-era Hercules transports, industry sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

"No final contract decision has been made for the C-130J on numbers, detailed costs or funding and budget implications. A business case is expected to progress to cabinet next year," he said.

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