Defence Minister Ron Mark nailed his colours to the joystick nearly three years ago when it came to replacing our ageing Hercules.
Then New Zealand First defence spokesman and some distance away from the Treasury benches, was unequivocal about what was needed.
''We're highly disposed to the 130J. You'd have to have a damn good reason to cut away and introduce something new,'' he told the Business Herald in October 2016
The former Army captain has been a strident critic of much of the country's recent procurement of defence hardware.
During the past three decades, there have been frigate cost blowouts, the LAV (light armoured vehicle) disaster and the purchase of a sealift ship that didn't do any sea lifting.
For one reason or another - egos and incompetence are a couple - military procurement has been strewn with expensive blunders.
But now Mark's the one who will be signing off on these enormous cheques on behalf of the taxpayer and he's playing it safe.
Tactical airlift needs to be effective and reliable to respond to emergencies in seismically active New Zealand, our Pacific neighbours exposed to increasingly wild weather and to support defence alliance partners.
Replacing the five Hercules is the highest priority within today's Defence Capability Plan which outlines $20 billion in spending out to 2030.
The aircraft he's so keen on is the C-130J Super Hercules, is a lot like the plane 55-year-old plane its replacing. From the outside.
A former US Air Force pilot with more than 6000 hours in the plane told the Business Herald in 2017 that while the new model Herc looks similar to the H model first developed in the 1950s its avionics are from another world and is 25 per cent more powerful.
''It looks like a C130 on the outside but it doesn't perform like an old C130," said Keith Gurnick, who was doing the rounds with Lockheed Martin extolling its virtues in this country to politicians and some media.
Back then it was optimistic about its chances and with Mark, at least the Maryland-based military giant was pushing against an open door.
But there were options which haven't made the final cut but Mark today says they were ''carefully considered.''
One was Embraer's KC390 which is under development for the Brazilian Air Force but eager for other customers.
The twinjet is powered by engines that are used on Airbus A320s (that could be serviced in New Zealand) and a Rockwell Collins flight deck similar to those in commercial airliners is 25 per cent faster than a Herc with a greater range, bigger maximum payload and with a lower sticker price, reportedly around $120m.
Boeing's growing role in Embraer could have also have worked in favour of the muscular plane.
While not yet in service the development programme is going well, according to reports from Brazil and Embraer is up to plane number 9 on the production line.
But a leap to a jet would have been a big call and as New Zealand has found out before there are no prizes for being first with technology that hasn't been proven.
Air Force top brass and former defence minister Mark Mitchell flew on the KC390 when it was here on a marketing mission.
Airbus also flew its A400M - which looks like a Hercules on steroids - was also flown here on a sales trip, showing it off at the RNZAF's 80th birthday.
The plane, known also as Grizzly, is a four-engine turboprop, with a flight deck similar to an A380, very fast with enormous cargo capacity and the ability to operate on rugged airfields. While proven in service with European air forces the plane was too big for New Zealand's need and too expensive.
There was also a brief flirtation with the enormous Boeing C17 Globemaster during the early years of the last National government but the fact it was going out of production mean what Mark described in 2016 as a ''great big fat elephant'' was never going to fly for New Zealand.
A twin-engine jet being developed by Kawasaki also suffered from Embraer's weakness, not enough air miles under its belt.
The flight path inevitably led back to the C130J.
There are many reasons why.
Antarctic operations are crucial to New Zealand and the new model Super Hercules has the ability to get to the McMurdo Sound, for crew to assess landing conditions while overhead and if they are too bad return safely to Christchurch. The older model planes' point of safe return was much earlier in flight.
Transitioning to a later-model Hercules won't need new hangar modifications and retraining pilots will be easier than if moving to a new aircraft,
And while some critics will say its still basically a decades-old gas guzzler with four engines, it is substantially improved and that heritage works in its favour for New Zealand.
More than 400 of the latest model Hercs have been deliver to more than 20 countries including key defence partners, the US, Britain, Australia and Canada.
Now the tough part starts; negotiating a price with Lockheed Martin.
Mark says that no final contract decision has been made, on either plane numbers, detailed costs, or funding and Budget implications.
But at least after years of holding on too long to planes which joined the fleet before man landed on the Moon, a decision has been made.
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