Defence Minister, Andrew Little, has marked the arrival of the country’s second P-8A Poseidon aircraft alongside personnel at the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Base at Ohakea today.
“With two of the four P-8A Poseidons now on home soil this marks another significant milestone in the Government’s historic investment in Aotearoa New Zealand’s defence capability and maritime awareness,” Mr Little said.
“The Poseidons replace the P-3K2 Orions. They can travel faster, are more reliable, and offer greater interoperability with a number of our partners.
“This is important to support international partnerships as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in our region and further afield,” the Minister said.
The Poseidon aircraft will be used by the RNZAF to conduct a range of tasks including aerial surveillance of New Zealand’s areas of interest such as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the South Pacific and the Southern Ocean including the Ross Dependency and Antarctica.
“The arrival of this second aircraft gives our defence leaders and our defence force a sense of confidence that they have more means to provide a meaningful response when tasked to do what they need to do,” the Minister said.
The $2.3 billion Government investment in the aircraft represents a significant capability uplift for New Zealand’s maritime surveillance, he said.
They will support a range of Government agencies, including Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Customs, New Zealand Police, and the Department of Conservation.
The first P-8A Poseidon aircraft arrived December 2022. The remaining aircraft are expected to arrive mid-2023.