New Zealand government mulls US-made Globemaster for air force

Updated: 2015-02-16 13:59


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WELLINGTON - The New Zealand government is considering US-made Boeing C17 Globemaster heavy transport carriers as part of an upgrade of the air force's air lift capabilities, Defense Minister Gerry Brownlee revealed on Monday.

Brownlee and members of Parliament's Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Select Committee visited a Royal Australian Air Force Globemaster when it delivered a consignment of sandstone for a war memorial in Wellington on Monday.

"This is a timely opportunity, and I appreciate the Australian air force giving us a chance to learn more about and experience the C17," Brownlee said in a statement.

The Ministry of Defense was in the process of receiving price and availability information on the C17 from the United States government as part of a long-term review of airlift capability.

"Consideration of New Zealand's continuing engagement in the Antarctic, and our ability to respond to natural disasters and provide humanitarian aid in the Pacific, means options for future airlift capability need to be explored," Brownlee said.

"While there is no commitment to purchase any C17s, it seems sensible to view the Australian aircraft while it is in the capital," he said.

"While the C17 may not prove to be the best solution for New Zealand, we owe it to ourselves to look at it seriously while we can."

The Royal New Zealand Air Force currently operates five upgraded C-130H Hercules aircraft in its transport fleet.

The Australian Globemaster delivered almost 50 tonnes of sandstone for the construction of an Australian World War One memorial in Wellington.

The memorial will feature 15 sandstone columns surrounded by eucalyptus trees representing the Australian landscape.

It is a reciprocal gesture to the New Zealand memorial built in Canberra and is funded by the Australian government.