Sale of C-130J to New Zealand OK’d by State Department

The U.S. State Department has granted approval  to a foreign military sale (FMS) proposal for the sale of five C-130J airlifters to New Zealand at the estimated cost of $1.4 billion. The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) sent the necessary certification notifying Congress of the potential sale on November 20.

The New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) already operates a fleet of five C-130H transport aircraft acquired from the U.S. between 1965 and 1968. These were given multiple upgrades by L3 Technologies, with the final work conducted between 2011 and 2012. The upgrades under Project Pegasus followed a 2002 decision to forego procurement of C-130Js under an option picked up in 1995.

Due to their age, the need to replace the legacy C-130Hs figured into New Zealand’s recent Defense Capability Plan documents (2016 and 2019) and Strategic Defense Policy Statement (2018).  The Ministry of Defense released a Request for Information (RFI) in January 2016 seeking the replacement of the NZDF’s two Boeing 757-200s and five C-130Hs under the so-called Future Air Mobility Capability (FAMC) project.  The timeline laid out in the 2019 Defense Capability Plan called for introduction into service of the new airlifters by 2023 and the C-130H fleet to be fully phased out of service by February 2024.

New Zealand announced its selection of the C-130J as its preferred replacement platform back in June after also examining proposals related to the Airbus A400M and Embraer KC-390.


A C-130J Super Hercules touches down at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 16, 2010. The new Super Herc is being delivered by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz to the 317th Airlift Group there. The base’s first C-130J, named “The Pride of Abilene,” is the first of 28 to be delivered by 2013 to replace the current aging fleet of C-130s. U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Stephen Reyes

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s director of military and defense markets. In this role, Dan oversees a team of analysts tasked with covering everything from budgeting to weapons systems to defense electronics and military aerospace. Additionally, for over 17 years Dan has, at various times, authored the International Military Markets reports for Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Dan's work has been cited in Defense News, Real Clear Defense, Asian Military Review, Al Jazeera, and Financial Express, among others, and he has also contributed commentary to The Diplomat, The National Interest and World Politics Review. He has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The New York Times, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. In addition, Dan has made guest appearances on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line, as well as The Red Line Podcast, plus media appearances on France 24 and World Is One News (WION).

View all posts by Daniel Darling →