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New Zealand outlines future investment priorities

11 June 2019
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New Zealand’s Defence Capability Plan 2019 prioritises the acquisition of Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft (pictured). Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

Key Points

  • The Defence Capability Plan 2019 outlines investment worth NZD20 billion until 2030
  • The plan affords the 'highest priority' to the procurement of Super Hercules airlifters from the US

New Zealand has unveiled a NZD20 billion (USD13.2 billion) military modernisation programme including the planned acquisition of Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft.

The Defence Capability Plan 2019 was released by the New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 11 June, outlining the investment priorities for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) through to 2030. The new plan is intended to accompany the Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018, which replaced New Zealand's Defence White Paper 2016.

The new Defence Capability Plan stated that its "highest priority" is to "preserve the tactical airlift capability of the NZDF". To that end, it said, the NZDF will procure new C-130J-30s to replace its existing five C-130H platforms, with introduction into service aimed for 2023.

The number of C-130J-30s to be acquired has not been finalised, with the deal to be progressed through the US Foreign Military Sales process. The capability plan said the aircraft will cost more than NZD1 billion and are required to transport NZDF personnel and cargo across the South Pacific and Antarctica and to support coalition operations further afield.

Other major Royal New Zealand Air Force requirements outlined in the capability plan include the acquisition of four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for NZD2.3 billion, which was announced by the government in 2018, and a requirement to procure in the 2020s additional logistics capability through the "future strategic air mobility" programme worth up to NZD600 million. The latter project was previously outlined in the 2016 White Paper.

Other requirements include a new trainer capability from the mid-2020s and a long-range unmanned aerial vehicle.

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