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C-130J Hercules simulator takes off

The first phase of construction of New Zealand’s C-130J-30 Super Hercules flight simulator has been completed in Canada.

16 October, 2023

The life-sized replica cockpit was built in Montreal before being shipped by road to Tampa, USA, for the installation of equipment, software and visuals.

The full-mission flight simulator is being delivered to New Zealand as part of the Government’s $1.5 billion deal with the United States Government to supply a fleet of five new Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules, along with spare parts, crew training, and a simulator.

Ministry of Defence Integrated Project Team Leader, Andrew Rooney, said the simulator was scheduled to arrive in New Zealand in 2025.

“The simulator will be located at Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Base Auckland, where No. 40 Squadron, which maintains and flies the Hercules, are based,” Andrew Rooney said.

At RNZAF Base Auckland, construction of the building to house the flight simulator is underway, with the foundation complete and tilt slab walls erected.

In order to accommodate the simulator, the building is nearly 16 metres high. In the last two weeks, building crews have installed 730 tonnes of concrete tilt slab walls.

“Simulators reduce maintenance and flight time on actual aircraft, saving money and time, and reducing the risk to people and aircraft. They also improve crew safety and preparedness as they can train for different emergency situations and poor weather conditions in a simulated flight environment,” Andrew Rooney said.

Another significant milestone just completed is the training of No. 40 Squadron’s first crew, which is now certified to fly a US Air Force C-130J-30 aircraft.

The construction of the fleet is now well underway, with all five aircraft on the production line. The first aircraft is fully built with its engines and systems installed, and testing has begun. New Zealanders can expect to see the first C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft touchdown in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2024.

Header photo: the building that will house the simulator at Base Auckland. 

Members of the project team stand in front of the simulator being built.

Members of the project team in Canada.