Pressure on planes

4:35 AM Tuesday Jul 6, 2010

The Air Force could not take part in two overseas exercises this year because it didn't have enough planes, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp has confirmed.

Operational requirements were paramount and delays in upgrading work on Hercules C130 and Orion aircraft meant there were none to spare for exercise Maple Leaf in Canada and exercise Green Flag in the United States, he said yesterday.

"This really goes back to the C130 upgrade contract," he said on Radio New Zealand. "There have been some problems with it ... two aircraft are essentially not available to the RNZAF, two out of five."