NZ Air Force’s multi-mission long-range maritime patrol aircraft arrives

The first of the Royal New Zealand Air Forces (RNZAF) four new multi-mission long-range maritime patrol aircraft arrived in the country on Tuesday.

The P-8A Poseidon fleet will replace the P-3K2 Orion fleet, which first entered service in the 1960s, the RNZAF said in a statement, adding that the remaining three aircraft will arrive by mid-2023.

The official welcome ceremony at the at RNZAF Base Ohakea was attended by 450 guests including ambassadors, local community members, and defence personnel.

The Poseidon fleet will support New Zealand’s peace and security operations, maritime surveillance, resource protection, humanitarian and disaster response in New Zealand, the Pacific and further abroad, the statement said.

The Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark, said the arrival marked the start of another chapter for the Air Force and its people.

“Today is a major milestone in building a modern and capable Defence Force for New Zealand,” he said.

“It is the next step in the ongoing modernisation of our capabilities and the enhancement of the many roles of the aviators who comprise today’s Air Force.

“Whether it’s saving lives at sea, securing our vast maritime resources, preventing transnational crime, building regional resilience or defending our region against military threats, the P-8A Poseidon, like the P-3K2 Orion before it, has the breadth of versatility and the depth of capability to take the job on,” he said.

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