Tuesday, July 23, 2024

First P-8A Poseidon lands in NZ

Minister of Defence, Peeni Henare, today marked the arrival of the first of Aotearoa New Zealand’s P-8A Poseidon aircraft at the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Base at Ohakea.

It is the first of four new P-8A Poseidon aircraft purchased by the Government to modernise the nation’s defence force.

“Since coming into office we’ve focused on ensuring our Defence force personnel have the support, tools and capability to serve on behalf of all New Zealanders, and play our part in providing security and stability to our region,” Mr Henare said.

“We have invested a record $2.53 billion to upgrade our Defence capability in Budget 2018 and that included $2.3 billion purchase to replace the aging P-3K2 Orion which have been in service with the RNZAF since the 1960s.

“The P-8s will replace the Orions, conducting maritime surveillance, resource protection, natural disaster support and search and rescue operations as we work alongside our Pacific partners to support the security and stability of the region.”

A purpose-built hangar – measuring 180m in length, 26m high and 80m wide – will house the aircrafts, with an average of 250 workers onsite each day.

The official welcome ceremony for the first P-8A was attended by 450 guests including Ambassadors, local community members, and Defence personnel.

“New Zealand’s first P-8A aircraft marks a major milestone in the decisions taken since 2018 to replace those Defence Force capabilities that have served the country’s interests, and those of our friends and neighbours, for more than three generations,” said Mr Henare.

“To the current, and future generations of Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel who will operate the P-8A, thank you for your commitment to continuing this record of service.”

The remaining aircraft are scheduled to arrive by mid-2023.

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