In April of last year the United States State Department announced that it would be offering The New Zealand Government the option to purchase up to four Boeing P-8A Poseidons. The offer which was due to expire in March, 2018 was extended and the NZ government has officially inked a deal to execute the purchase of four aircraft. These new aircraft will be replacing the older P-3 fleet. The deal is worth over $2 billion dollars.

 

Half of the $2.3b cost will be related to expenses involving moving five previous P-3 Orion squadrons to Ohakea- which for starters has a longer runway to better accommodate the larger P-8. Other costs involve a new simulator to facilitate pilot and crew training for the new aircraft. NZ expects delivery and subsequent entry into service around 2023.

 

This purchase will also gain NZ favor with Australia who has requested a modernization to their fleet to aid in joint maritime operations, strengthening the region as a whole.

 

Defense Minister Ron Mark reportedly had this to say when asked about the purchase “I was a P8 sceptic, I put my hand up on that one, but no matter how I looked at this case, the aircraft stacks up on its own, and at the end of the day it is the only aircraft that delivers all of the capabilities.”

 

New Zealand will join Australia, India, Norway, The United Kingdom, and the United States Navy as operators of the P-8 Poseidon.

 

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A US Navy P-8 Poseidon

 

The P-8 is a Boeing aircraft, a military version of the 737-800. They are constructed in the United States at their Renton, Washington facility. With over 4000nm in range at a ceiling of 41,000 feet and a full onboard armament, they are the ideal aircraft for maritime patrols, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare. The first production P-8 entered service with the United States Navy on 4 March, 2012.

 

The Royal New Zealand Air Force was founded in 1937 and currently flies nine different types of aircraft.

Image ©️ Royal New Zealand Air Force and Militaryfactory.com (respectively)

©️ Mike Olsen

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