Updated: January 26, 2014 at 7:19 pm
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand announced Monday it had signed a $127 million contract with Wichita, Kan.-based Beechcraft Corp. for military pilot training.
Defense Minister Jonathan Coleman said the contract includes 11 Beechcraft T-6C turboprop planes as well as ground simulators and training systems that will be implemented in classrooms and on computers.
Trainee pilots will begin using the new system in 2016.
New Zealand has a defense force of about 14,000. It stationed a small number of troops in Afghanistan for a decade before withdrawing them last year.
U.S. Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Colin Crosby said the announcement is great news for New Zealand's Air Force and good news for U.S. business.
New Zealand military pilots are currently trained on systems provided by Pacific Aerospace and Beechcraft that the government considers outdated.