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New Zealand’s C-130J Super Hercules Completes Debut Test Flights in US Skies

C-130J Super Hercules

New Zealand’s first C-130J Super Hercules has completed its initial test flights in the United States.

The Lockheed Martin-manufactured aircraft flew for 246 minutes over Georgia and Alabama, achieving an altitude of 10,500 feet and traveling a span of 984 kilometers, Auckland said.

Defence Minister Judith Collins described the test flights as a significant milestone for the New Zealand Defence Force.

“The Hercules C-130J is faster, flies further and holds more cargo than its predecessor, the C-130H. It is versatile, powerful and reliable,” Collins said in a statement.

The tested aircraft was procured under the Foreign Military Sales program as part of a five-unit fleet that the Royal New Zealand Air Force will start receiving in late 2024. The new C-130Js will be based at RNZAF Base Auckland and operated by the No. 40 Squadron.

Air Vice Marshal Darryn Webb, the RNZAF chief, welcomed the news of the Super Hercules’ maiden flight, noting that the imminent addition to the Kiwi defense force represents “another step towards honing the modern Air Force as combat-capable, deployable and sustainable.”

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