The Royal New Zealand Air Force received its second P-8A Poseidon maritime and patrol aircraft at Base Ohakea in Manawatu.
The delivery is part of a $1.45-billion contract for four P-8As to replace the service’s six P-3K2 Orions in service since the 1960s and scheduled for retirement in 2025.
Poseidon manufacturer Boeing delivered the country’s first aircraft in December 2022.
“The arrival of this second aircraft gives our defence leaders and our defence force a sense of confidence that they have more means to provide a meaningful response when tasked to do what they need to do,” New Zealand Defence Minister Andrew Little stated.
The P-8As will be deployed for aerial surveillance and related missions to secure New Zealand’s areas of interest, including the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the South Pacific, and regions near the Antarctic Ocean.
The fleet is expected to significantly bolster the country’s maritime surveillance capabilities.
Alongside New Zealand’s defense, the P-8A will support the country’s primary industries, customs, police, and conservation.
“With two of the four P-8A Poseidons now on home soil this marks another significant milestone in the Government’s historic investment in Aotearoa New Zealand’s defence capability and maritime awareness,” Little said.
“They can travel faster, are more reliable, and offer greater interoperability with a number of our partners.”
“This is important to support international partnerships as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in our region and further afield.”