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A400M and C295W to be pitched to NZ

written by WOFA | May 30, 2013

The A400M and C295W pictured here at Airbus Military's Seville plant will be offered to New Zealand. (Julian Green)

The eventual retirement of the RNZAF’s C-130Hs will see Airbus Military pitch the A400M and newly-launched C295W to the New Zealand government.

Announced at its annual briefing to trade media, Airbus Military said while it views New Zealand as a longer-term proposition, it is confident the two aircraft could fill the gap to be left by the ultimate retirement of the RNZAF’s five C-130Hs and indeed enhance the nation’s airlift capabilities.

Airbus Military was upbeat about the potential its new products could offer, and will embark on initial discussions within an undisclosed period, believed to be in the nearer-term to seed the products as potential candidates.

One observer at the briefing noted the C295 could also provide a pragmatic solution to New Zealand’s future maritime patrol needs when the Orions fall due for replacement. Airbus Military is offering the C295W as both a tactical airlifter and maritime patrol aircraft.

The last of the RNZAF C-130Hs to undergo a 15-year life-extension was re-delivered only in February this year, five years later than expected, under a program that was originally approved in 2003.

Airbus Military’s advance campaigning comes as it readies to launch the A400M into service in the coming weeks. The manufacturer’s head of programs, Rafael Tentor, who was A400M project head, said it had been “a long and winding road” to get to this point of delivery, but the A400M was “now the right aircraft at the right time”.


  • John N


    I think the big problem for our Kiwi cousins across the ditch is the amount of money, or should I lack of, they spend on defence.

    We’ve all complained here about Australia’s reduced Defence budget last year, which was not much more than 1.5% of GDP last year, but it has increased for this coming year and the following years.

    Our Kiwi Cousins only spend around 1% of GDP, to put it more simply, in pure dollar terms after adjusting the exchange rate, what we currently spend on Defence in one year, it would take the Kiwi’s around 10 years to spend the same amount!

    To eventually replace the very old, but upgraded, C130H’s and P3K’s with the equivalent numbers of new C130J’s and P8A’s would appear to be way beyond the ability of the Kiwi Defence budget to do so.

    Without a significant and sustained increase in the NZ Defence Budget, which I can’t see happening, what is the Answer?

    Airbus Military might be able to put together an ‘attractive’ package deal comprising A400M’s, CN295 Transport / MPA aircraft as suggested by this article.

    And let’s not forget that around 2030 the RAAF C130J’s will come up for replacement and a ‘mature’ A400M would certainly be a contender.

    So it might make smart business sense for Airbus Military to work very hard at trying to get a foot in the door with the Kiwi’s whilst also keeping an eye on getting the big prize, eg, selling A400M’s to the RAAF as the C130J replacement too!


    John N

  • pez


    8-10 C-295s split 50/50 transport and MPA and 4 A400Ms would be a *very* capable fleet. Perhaps, like I think LM did when they offered the -130J to NZ, it could be managed as part of a potential larger RAAF fleet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a hard sell from EADS to replace our and NZ’s Hercs from around 2020/2022 onwards.

  • Damian


    Always amazes me that we don’t do joint purchases with NZ and operate in a joint pool – just add Velcro roundels!

  • Raymond


    Oh, and while we’re at it, why don’t we just amalgamate NZ into AU altogether?! After all, there has been provision in the Australian Constitution for the inclusion of New Zealand as a state of the Commonwealth of Australia since 1900!

  • BH


    @ Damian. The kiwis have to a certain extent piggybacked some of our defence projects in the past to make use of platform commonality. Look at a few of their purchases.. Anzac class frigates, MRH90s & the Seasprites. Although each differed in specifics to the Australian spec’d versions, overall they were largely similar. They just got burnt when we scraped the Seasprite project. Saying that they’ve just purchased many of the ex RAN airframes for their own use.
    It will be interesting to see if later in the decade when the C130s and Anzacs come up for replacement whether there is further collaboration on replacement platforms.

  • John N


    It always sounds good on paper that Australia and NZ should do more joint purchases of military equipment, but the fact is we are both two independent nations, whilst we have a lot of shared history, we both row our own boats in different directions.

    Putting all of that aside, one of the major differences is the amount of dollars each side spends on Defence (as I highlighted above), whilst I’m sure our Kiwi Cousins in the NZ Military would like to see more of the same, it’s not backed up by their Government’s Foreign policy or Defence spending policy.

    And as BH pointed out, yes there is equipment that ‘basically’ appears to look the same, they are vastly different in configuration, for example, even though the ANZAC Frigates came off the same production line at Williamstown, today they are vastly different due to different upgrade paths, so a lot of commonality goes out the window.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t do joint purchases, but it has to be backed up with dollars and also a path where the equipment is upgraded and kept in the same configuration for it’s service life, makes support and interoperability work so much better.

    Getting back to the Airbus Military push for NZ to become a user of C295’s and A400M’s, well we’ve gone down the C27J path rather than the C295, so there’s no chance of a common purchase there.

    But yes there is certainly an opportunity that a possible future A400M buy could be a fit for both nations and certainly does have merit.


    John N

  • Wayne


    Why should we waste our time and money on NZ? They do their own thing anyway. There is absolutely no benefit to Australia having them operate the same gear or with combined purchasing. The C-130J program contained options for NZ and they reneged. Makes us look like fools.

    Anything European looks to failure>>The Oz SH-2G failure was due to the RAN/DMO specifying a level of equipment and standards that had never been done before! Go figure… vs. C-17A/MH-60R/F/A-18F/C-130J etc..

  • Story is incorrect.
    The first C-130H(NZ) to complete the LEP was delivered back to the RNZAF early this year, having been completed in NZ, two completed by L-3 are also back in the fleet. A further two Hercules aircraft will enter service later this year and possibly into next year

  • Peter Clark


    I also believe NZ should it transport level have a joint fleet with Australia. We even now need at least one C-17 for transport, this then could be a pool operation, as well as the 400M.
    NZ does not have the financial resources to go it alone any more and to have a modern fleet. A joint force could operate and be good for NZ as we can have NZ crews operating pool aircraft which we would own some. As for maritime with the long southern oceans work, and flights to ice currently with P3, the new B737 maritime is the only way to go.

  • David


    New Zealand still has an air force, more accurately an air transport service. An force involves having combat capability. When they removed their A4-K. They lost the term Air Force. They should think about rebuilding their military, so Australia doesn’t carry the defense burden for New Zealand.

  • Darren


    Hi All

    It can make good sense for New Zealand to work with the RAAF in aircraft (and other Defence areas) so long as John N pointed out they stay with the program and commit to upgrades as per the Australian fleet (which is likely to always be larger) If they go it alone after initial purchase then the cost savings for both are lost.

    An area that could benefit both is something like the NATO C-17 arrangement where flight hours are brought. This works best for transport types, but only if both countries have a binding agreement. Otherwise we want to go somewhere and NZ objects, thus a stalemate. We are still seperate nations that don’t always agree.

    Realistically John N is right. If the Kiwis want to buy into our programs to get the price down that’s fine, but otherwise it is of little value.

    And as for the A400 I hope the RNZAF can get it. I’m sure they would love it, but sadly their budget probably won’t stretch.


  • Chris


    New Zealand should pay for their own defence requirements.

    Especially since they decided not to have a fast jet component to their air force. As the then prime minister of New Zealand stated that Australia will come and save them with our fighter fleet. How very Presumptuous.

    In these fiscally demanding times Australia often does not meet our defence requirements.

    We certainly do not need to pay for New Zealand’s.

    The only thing that would happen if we had any joint fleet of any kind would be that my Australian tax dollars would pay for our neighbours defence whilst they would sit back and enjoy their freedom and liberty claiming they do not have enough revenue.

    It was unforgiveable that they ceased operations of their fighter fleet.

    It is unthinkable we should share anything until they remember the ANZAC traditions. It is supposed to work both ways.

    Some things are worth the extra money. Stop being so tight and contribute to the regional defence.

    Maybe even invest in something that might contribute to saving or helping your Australian ANZAC neighbours should we ever need the help.

    Quickly before you become totally irrelevant.

  • Cameron McCulloch


    Chris i am sure there are millions of U.S. tax payers who would echo your words about Australia.

    Fortunately for New Zealand i cant see any potential aggressor on the horizon ( unless some small pacific island wants to take over). Any potential aggressor would be coming for Australia first ( keep your eyes on the main prize( mineral wealth)) and as far as i can see that would only be coming from China.

    I am a proud Australian but i realize we have financial constraints just as our ANZAC brothers do. Would it not be better for them to forgo a combat force and instead focus the efforts into a certain capability ( in this case transport). I personally believe that there would be alot of fiscal sense in having a combined ANZAC force. I’m sure there are specific capabilities that NZ could focus on that when combined into an ANZAC force could make us world leaders in those areas, and in turn more useful when we look even bigger at joint operations with other nations eg. the U.S.

    The Australian army is morphing itself into a force similar to the U.S. Marines, based around the LHD’s the navy are accruing, this is so any potential future conflict we could hopefully fit into a U.S. lead force. This potentially gives the U.S and extra Marine expeditionary force. A perfect example of a force specializing for the greater good.

    Unfortunately I think in the times that we live in we REALLY need to start working SMARTER not HARDER.

  • John N



    Whilst I agree with you, and I’m sure most here do too, that Australia needs to be spending more of its GDP on defence, I do take exception a little bit with the statement regarding US taxpayers.

    Australia is a massive customer of US made Defence equipment, 10’s of Billions of dollars worth of US made equipment is currently in service here, 10’s of Billions of dollars worth of equipment is on order and will continue to be ordered into the future for many many years to come.

    Australia’s purchase of US made military equipment keeps a lot of US taxpayers employed by US Defence contractors, big and small, the list is endless.

    A few examples, FA18F’s, EA18G’s, C17A’s, E7A Wedgetails, C130’s, the eventual 72 F35A’s, P8A’s, Triton, MH60R’s, CH47F’s, M1 Tanks, etc, etc, and even though the ‘green’ C27J airframes are built in Italy, they go to the US to be fitted with all of the ‘black’ boxes, etc, under the FMS sales agreement before delivery here.

    And even equipment that is not directly purchased from the US usually contains a significant amount of US made systems, the AWD’s are a good example, whilst they are of Spanish design being build here in Australia, the radar and weapon systems are all US made, the Collins subs have US combat systems and US weapons.

    I think it would be fair to say that there are far more US taxpayers employed making defence equipment for Australia than there are Australian’s employed here making defence equipment.

    So yes on the one hand we are certainly not spending anywhere near the US and we do enjoy the benefits of the Australia / US relationship having the strongest military power in the world as our best buddy, but we certainly do pay for that in a lot of other ways too.


    John N

  • Cameron McCulloch


    I totally agree with you John, but the point i was trying to get across is just as we have a very strong big brother/little brother relationship with the U.S. we also need to have a similar relationship with N.Z.( I’m not saying that we dont by the way).

    As far as i can see Australia basically has two spheres of influence.
    The south west Pacific- In this sphere we are the big boys on the block and as such really have a responsibility as the largest democratic nation to provide security assistance in this region when called upon, for example the regional assistance mission to the Solomon Islands. This was an ANZAC mission (along with some other smaller pacific island nations) that didnt call for a traditional all force approach. This is the sort of mission that a specializing N.Z. force could excel in (no need for combat aircraft but a strong need for transport aircraft). I personally dont see any foreign aggression happening in this region ( apart from maybe rising sea levels forcing the evacuation of low level islands) and as such i cant see why any nation (apart from Australia) would need too or afford to maintain a combat force. ( Really need to distinguish between combat and security force)

    The second sphere i see is Asia. In this sphere we are a middle class defence force. First class being China, Japan, South Korea, India and the United States. As i said in my last post i think the Australian defence force is really trying to fit itself into a greater U.S. lead force. I also like what i see in the RAAF forging stronger ties with the Japanese Air Force. I wont bang on about this region too much because i’m sure we all know and has been debated about enough.

    Thanks Cameron.

  • John N


    Hi Cameron,

    A well thought out post, you are correct about the two spheres of influence.

    And yes, apart from the national pride aspect, it is too late for NZ to re-establish an air combat force, apart from the cost of the aircraft and the massive distortion to their Defence budget, it would take way too many years to re-establish the skills to be truly effective.

    So what could NZ contribute to a combined Anzac security / disaster relief force for the SW Pacific Region?

    Apart from a strong air transport force, as you mentioned, the other two areas would be maritime patrol and also and increased amphibious capability too.

    In my opinion those three areas would be the ones where I’d like to see NZ increase and focus it’s capability.

    For the air transport area, new aircraft such as either A400M’s / C130J30’s, and a second tier of either C295’s / C27J’s.

    In the maritime patrol area, replace the P3K2’s with both P8A’s and also Triton too.

    In the naval / amphibious area, a larger more capable ship than Canterbury and a larger more capable afloat support ship.

    But to do that NZ has to get more serious about what it spends on Defence which is currently around 1%.

    And whilst I agree there is little chance of foreign aggression in the SWP region, the real risk, from a ‘political influence’ point of view, is with China being able to throw a lot of money at those small Island States in our region, being able to gain a foot hold in area’s where Australian and New Zealand have traditionally had the influence and been the ‘big boys’ as you mentioned.


    John N

  • Cameron McCulloch


    John i agree 100% with your last paragraph and was going to say something similar. I note with interest that japan has been doing the same thing as well. They have been propping up small local fishing co-op’s and fleets in return for favorable votes for commercial whaling ( Might be getting a bit off topic there LOL).
    As has been reported in the press China has been spending hundred of millions dollars in East Timor, unfortunately i dont see china doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. It has been said they are trying to get permission to set up a naval base so that they can get a foot hold outside the ring of islands that surround the south china sea. These islands are seen choke points that U.S. carrier battle groups can strike any “Break out” by the chinese.


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