Procurement: April 16, 2000


New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has gone ahead with her threat to cancel the previous government's contracts to lease 28 F-16s from the US for ten years for $218 million. The planes were originally built for Pakistan but not delivered due to its work on nuclear weapons. While Clark promised a full review of the need for combat aircraft, there seems a better than even chance that the ancient Skyhawks will retire in 2007 without replacements. Clark noted that several expensive military purchase programs are under way, and more money is just not available. The ongoing projects include upgrading Orion patrol planes, buying armored carriers for the infantry, replacing five old C-130s, and converting a ship into a sealift carrier. --Stephen V Cole


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