28 Jan 2014

Air Force updates training planes

6:00 pm on 28 January 2014

The Air Force has signed a $154 million contract to buy 11 single-engined planes for pilot training.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said on Tuesday the Beechcraft T-6C turboprops are due to begin arriving in New Zealand in 2016. The contract includes spare parts, ground simulators and training.

Dr Coleman says it will also create 21 new jobs with the New Zealand maintenance company Safe Air Limited, based at the Ohakea airbase.

The T-6Cs will replace the Air Force's current air trainers (CT-4Es and King Air B200s), which will reach the end of their service life in 2018.

They are already used by several overseas militaries, including the United States, Canada and Israel.