c 130

C-130 Hercules life extension

The life extension programme for the five C-130 Hercules aircraft operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). 

The scope of the project was to replace specific mechanical, avionic and structural components, and the design and installation of flight deck communications and navigation improvements to meet air traffic management regulations.

Government approval

December 2004
Project budget of NZ$226 million (excl. GST) is approved.

May 2007
A further NZ$21.2 million (excl. GST) is approved to upgrade the self-protection system fitted to the aircraft.

July 2010
A further NZ$9.85 million (excl. GST) is approved to complete the production phase for the upgrade of the remaining three aircraft.


  • L-3 Communications Spar Aerospace of Edmonton Canada, signed December 2004.
  • L-3IS of Waco Texas – assigned the contract after L-3 closed. The first two aircraft were modified in Canada and testing continued in Texas.
  • Mid-2010 - L-3, the Ministry of Defence and Safe Air Limited reached an agreement for the Ministry to take over the management of the production phase to upgrade the remaining three aircraft.
  • March 2011 - RNZAF Base Woodbourne started on the first of the three aircraft.
  • Aviation Labour Group - principal labour provider for the programme.
  • Safe Air - support services.

Current status

The final aircraft was completed at Woodbourne, Blenheim, in February 2017.

The final release of the Flight Management System software will occur in September 2017 and will be the final deliverable under the project.

The C-130 Hercules in action

Read about how the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has used the C-130 Hercules in operations:

View the latest NZDF media releases(external link).

Find out more about the C-130 Hercules on the RNZAF website(external link).

Contact: Neil Hygate, Programme Director Air
Email: industry@defence.govt.nz