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New Zealand Takes Delivery of First P-8A Poseidon Aircraft From Boeing

New Zealand has received the first of four P-8A Poseidon aircraft ordered from American aerospace firm Boeing.

A ceremony to mark the milestone was held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, with representatives from the company and Wellington in attendance.

The delivery comes four years after New Zealand entered into a production agreement with the US Navy for the maritime patrol aircraft.

According to a New Zealand Ministry of Defence official, the P-8A Poseidon will boost the country’s ability to patrol its maritime territories and respond to various threats.

The aircraft will also “assist our South Pacific neighbors and deliver long-range search and rescue capability.”

Besides the aircraft, Boeing will provide sustainment support services for New Zealand’s P-8A fleet.

The P-8A Poseidon

Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon is a multi-mission aircraft capable of conducting anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, surveillance, and search and rescue.

It can fly at an altitude of 41,000 feet (12.5 kilometers) and up to 490 knots (907 kilometers/563 miles per hour).

The plane is fitted with lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes and AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles to support combat operations.

“The unmatched, multi-mission maritime patrol capabilities of the P-8 will provide New Zealand the ability to extend their reach into the Pacific and beyond,” Boeing vice president Philip June said.

“New Zealand joins eight other global customers including nearby Australia that have selected or already operate the P-8 and benefit greatly from its long-range maritime surveillance and warfare capabilities.”

The remaining three P-8A aircraft under order are in the final stages of production and will be delivered to New Zealand by 2023.

The aircraft will replace Wellington’s current fleet of P-3K2 Orions.

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