New Zealand has been cleared to buy five Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport aircraft for an estimated USD1.4 billion.
The potential sale, which was approved by the US State Department on 20 November, covers five of the latest-variant Hercules airlifters, as well as spares, related equipment including Wescam MX-20HD electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turrets, defensive aids, training and support.
"The proposed sale will improve New Zealand's capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing its current airlift capability. [It] will provide the capability to support national, United Nations, and other coalition operations. This purchase also includes sensors and performance improvements that will assist New Zealand during extensive maritime surveillance and reconnaissance as well as improve its search and rescue capability. Additionally, the extra cargo capacity and aircraft performance will greatly increase New Zealand's Antarctic mission capabilities while simultaneously increasing safety margins," the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in its notification to Congress.
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