New Zealand RNZAF C 130H NZ7003 credit Andrew Hamblyn 640First RNZAF C-130H retired

On 10 February 2023, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) officially retired the first of five C-130H Hercules transport aircraft.

The Hercules, serial NZ7003 (c/n 382-4054) and operated by 40 Squadron Ki Nga Hau e Wha (To the four winds) was accompanied by NZ7001 for a two-ship farewell flight from RNZAF Base Whenuapai around Auckland. After this flight, NZ7003 flew to RNZAF Base Woodbourne for retirement.

The RNZAF ordered five C-130J-30 Super Hercules as replacement for the venerable H-model, of which the first aircraft was delivered in March 1965.

In June 2022, the New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed the purchase of the Super Hercules. According to then Secretary of Defence Ron Mark, the C-130J-30 was chosen as the preferred option to replace the current Hercules fleet. The new transporters are expected to start delivery in 2024, with the full fleet of five aircraft operating from 2025.

Photo by Andrew Hamblyn

Subscribe to Scramble

As a member you get access to all our
premium content and benefits learn more