Decision to buy four of Boeing P8s has been announced. Both the P3 Orions and C-130s are in urgent need of replacement.
While their roles are totally different if money is short would 4 brand new C-130 J or the Coastguard HC-130 J, be a better spend for NZ?
Maybe 4 C-130 J as they would have more cargo capability than the coastguard version?
I say buy the Hercules first as their capability would be used 99% of the time, while the P8 is something like the Skyhawk where its offensive capability was only ever used once - and that was to stop a trawler fishing illegally! And unlike Britain, Australia, and U.S. we don't have many frigates for the P8s to work with.
I am not knocking the Boeing P8. Based on the Boeing 737-800 it should have despatch reliabilty of 99.x %, and is highly capable, but is it the best choice for NZ at the moment or would we get more out of buying the brand new Hercules?
(The HC-130J is the long-range search and rescue variant of the C-130J flown by the U. S. Coast Guard. The aircraft's mission system includes automatic identification and direction-finding capabilities; long range, multi-mode radar; electro-optical and infraread, or EO/IR, sensor turret that provides both imagery and target data; advanced open architecture mission system processor; and an extensive communications suite. The HC-130J features a 20 percent increase in speed and altitude and a 40 percent increase in range compared to the HC-130H model. )