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Boeing Debuts New Zealand’s First P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft

Boeing debuted its first of four P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft that will replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s current fleet of six P-3K2 Orions.

The aircraft was presented at the firm’s manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington, on July 21.

Purchased under a 2.3 billion New Zealand dollar ($1.45 billion) contract, the P-8s are expected to enhance the air force’s maritime patrol capabilities, improving situational awareness in the country’s territorial waters.

“The aircraft features the iconic Kiwi roundel, a native bird to New Zealand,” Boeing P-8 Asia-Pacific Region Program Manager Sheena Vince Cruz said. ”Although flightless, the Kiwi bird is recognizable and will continue ‘flying’ as a symbol on the P-8A for decades to come.”

The aircraft’s maiden flight will take place in the coming weeks after the installation of mission systems. The New Zealand Ministry of Defence will receive the completed unit in late 2022.

The country is one of eight that will utilize the P-8 as their new multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft.

The Boeing P-8

The Boeing P-8 is designed for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. It can reach an altitude of up to 41,000 feet (12,500 meters) and can travel up to 490 knots (900 kilometers/560 miles per hour).

The plane was engineered to maintain peak performance for 25 years, or 25,000 hours of maritime flight, even in regions with extremely low temperatures.

The model has two variants: the P-8I flown by the Indian Navy and the P-8A Poseidon, in service with the UK Royal Air Force, Royal Norwegian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, and the US Navy. The Republic of Korea Navy and the German Navy have also purchased the aircraft for patrol operations.

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