Delivery of first Poseidon Air Force Aircraft
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.
This is the first of four new P-8A Poseidon aircraft purchased by the Government through its historic investment to modernise New Zealand’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,” Peeni 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.
“Indeed, one of the primary security concerns of the Pacific is that of climate change which is also one of my top priorities as Defence Minister.
“With the ability to travel faster and with greater reliability than the existing aircraft the P-8A will be a key capability to support national and international disaster responses as a result of climate change.
“To help move into a new era of maritime surveillance and in order to ensure we focus our efforts on the training and maintenance required of the new aircrafts we are reprioritising our workforce to allow for the safe transition to the four P-8A Poseidons.
“An important part of this launch is seeing the mahi so far on a purpose built facility to house the new aircrafts. Built right here at Base Ohakea it measures 180m long, 26m high and 80m wide with an average of 250 workers onsite each day,” Peeni Henare said.
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,” Peeni 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,” Peeni Henare said.
The remaining aircraft are scheduled to arrive by mid-2023.