New Zealand Defence Capability Plan released

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 19, 2014
The RNZAF P-3K-2 Orions may receive additional underwater ISR capabilities as part of the DCP. (Glen Alderton)
The RNZAF P-3K-2 Orions may receive additional underwater ISR capabilities as part of the DCP. (Glen Alderton)

The New Zealand government has released a Defence Capability Plan (DCP) outlining several capability enhancements in the coming decade.

Based on guidance provided by the 2010 Defence White Paper, the DCP outlines several new capabilities it wishes to explore in the coming decade in order to upgrade its capabilities.

“It is the second Capability Plan to follow the Defence White Paper 2010, which comprehensively stated the Government’s Defence policy goals and matched these to the future strategic environment,” Minister of Defence, Dr Jonathan Coleman writes in the DCP’s pre-amble. “While New Zealand’s fiscal environment has been challenging, significant progress has been made.”

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One project currently being studied is the Future Air Mobility project which is due to commence this year and which will result in a strategic airlift capability to replace the RNZAF’s C-130 Hercules and Boeing 757-200 transports between 2018 and 2025.

The DCP says the “project will consider all options to maintain the current range of capabilities including strategic and tactical transport of people and cargo, airdrop, low level and high level missions, aero-medical evacuation, and backup search and rescue capabilities.”

Also under consideration is a further upgrade to the RNZAF’s six P-3K-2 Orions to provide an enhanced “underwater ISR capability…to find and track underwater objects.” The DCP says this project “complements the completed [K-2] Mission Systems Upgrade, which focused on the over water and over land domains.”

New Zealand will also embark on a study as to whether “Remotely Piloted Vehicles could be acquired to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of ground forces and surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zone.”

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The DCP document is available here.

 

16 Comments

  • adammudhen

    says:

    That Future Air Mobility Project must have Airbus licking their lips.

  • ARG

    says:

    Airbus A400M and A330 MRTT please 🙂

  • Raymond

    says:

    Licking their lips for just how many airframes?

    Really, MRTT’s for NZ?

  • adammudhen

    says:

    @ ARG, I think MRTTs are off the table. They have no need for refueling and have gotten by with medium range narrow bodies for a lot of years (727s then the 757s).

    @Raymond, I’d expect Airbus would pitch 6 airframes with 2 options to replace No. 40 squadron (A400M).

  • Raymond

    says:

    Sorry, but I don’t understand how a company like Airbus will be ‘licking their lips’ over a potential order of just 6 or 8 aircraft.

    For some perspective, Airbus Group revenue for 2013 was €59.3 billion (about AUD$86 billion) and their order book as of 31 December 2013 was worth €686.7 billion (just shy of AUD$1 trillion).

  • Raymond

    says:

    And why does everyone seem to assume that the RNZAF C-130H replacement (and B757’s?) is going to be the A400M? Why is replacing old Hercs with new, the C-130J, mostly ignored?

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      Raymond

      The assumption is based on a lot of interest in the A400M expressed by NZ in recent years. The ‘licking their lips’ comment is also a fair one – sales of the A400m have been slow in recent years and some of the current orders are under threat due to budget cuts in Europe, so any sale at the moment is a good one. If NZ buys them, that may make others sit up and take notice.

      Cheers

      Andrew

  • Paul

    says:

    Big Herks aka A400M nice.. but they will still need fast VIP/Troop transport, so A330 or BBJ? which now comes in a bigger size i think. No Strike assests in the next decade?

  • B. Harrison

    says:

    The N.Z defence budget is a joke. The same criticisms that defence analysts throw at Australia how we hide behind the skirt of the Americans is even more relevant to New Zealand. Taking into consideration that Australia has approximately 5-6 times the population of N.Z, Australia spends 10 times more on defence than N.Z. The last budget had Australia spending approximately $A 28 billion on defence while N.Z is spending $A 2.8 billion. To put it into some kind of perspective, the NSW Police Force budget is greater than the entire N.Z defence budget. Until N.Z gets real and starts to spend money on a credible scale, purchasing equipment and materiel that would assist in supporting joint operations (maybe ground attack aircraft similar to it’s new trainers) and more then 2 frigates, it will be seen as inconsequential as they currently are.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Andrew – okay, but is what NZ does / buys really taken notice of on the world stage to that degree? Is it really going to make other countries more likely to order the A400M just because NZ has? And wouldn’t it make more sense to purchase the C-130J as this would mean greater interoperability with Australia and as they already have the Hercules in service this would mean a smoother upgrade path?

    Paul & B. Harrison – re. NZ strike assets and their defence budget, you may wish to take a look at these comments: http://australianaviation.com.au/2014/05/new-rnzaf-chief-takes-the-reins/ 🙂 For starters, I would like to see the RNZAF order some additional T-6′s in the AT-6C variant to provide CAS and light attack roles.

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      Raymond

      By the time NZ replaces its C-130s, the RAAF’s C-130Js will be more than 20 years old – why buy something for commonality with a neighbour’s fleet that will probably only be around another decade at best?

      Cheers

      Andrew

  • Darren

    says:

    If I were New Zealand I would be talking to Germany who is contracted to take a certain number of A400’s (sorry I just can’t remember the number) however has a requirement lower than that so will offer the spare airframes on the market. Could get a price war going between Germany and Airbus?

    As for 757 would be a shame to see it go as I like them, however as it was mentioned together will one type replace two?

    I don’t doubt the figures as I have no knowledge to challenge, but either NZ is getting good bang for buck in defence (with frigates, helicopters, patrol aircraft, transports, armored land vehicles, etc, etc), or NSW is paying way too much for police.

  • BH

    says:

    If you look at the size of New Zealand as a country and how they interact on a global and regional scale, I think the size and capability of their defence force is about right.
    Ever since the fast jet capability was axed, a lot of people have been talking about reinstating it or about arming their new trainers with a light attack capability. Why..? Where have New Zealand been involved in a major way in the recent past where that capability would be used? For a country their size operating a specialised capability of that sort on a small scale wouldn’t be feasible. The Skyhawk capability for what it was just wasn’t worth it. That money was better spent on more realistic capabilities such as those required for peace keeping and disaster relief operations. After all that is what the Kiwis spend a lot of their time doing.
    If it came to the crunch and things escalated in the Asia Pacific, New Zealand’s current capabilities would tie in well with Australia’s which would in turn interlock with the United States.
    In the end, given New Zealand’s economic situation, they should focus on realistic capabilities that they can afford and excel at them. That would be far more beneficial to themselves and the region.

  • Daniel Town

    says:

    Personally i don’t see any real need to replace the 757’s until we have to.
    And as for the C-130 replacement, the A400M is far too big for the RNZAF, both physically & economically, for example the A400M’s empty weight is more than the C-130’s MTOW. So thats out.
    The only real C-130 replacement in my opinion are the new Embraer KC-390, the C-27J Spartan & of course the C-130J.
    The C-27J I think is too small & remembering the RNZAF’s commitments to Antarctica, the C-27J can does have the range to get there, but with only a small payload (approx. 6000 kg). So that’s out.
    The C-130J, like someone mentioned is getting on now (introduced 1999), but i image the the C-130J would be very similar to the current C-130H, which would help reduce cost of converting to the new aircraft.
    Last but not least the Embraer KC-390. In my view while the C-130J may seam like the right option, I beleive the KC-390 would be the better aircraft in the long run. Although if I were the RNZAF & looking to place an order for the KC-390, I would wait a couple of years just until all the unavoidable bumps & wrinkles of a new aircraft have been ironed out.

    To sum myself up in a few words, the replacement aircraft for the RNZAF’s C-130H’s should be the C-130J if you want to play if safe, but to be better off in the long run I believe the KC-390 is the right replacement aircraft for when the RNZAF do finally retire their C-130H’s.

  • William Reid

    says:

    What some people don’t understand the RNZAF would not get a twin engine turbo props for transport and some Pacific Island relies on the RNZAF for relief aid. The RNZAF will be better off with either C-130J, C-17 or A400M for that role and for VIP/Cargo Transport Role, They can look at A332, B737BBJ, or even may look at upgrading the 757 with winglets.

  • Dave

    says:

    While the C-130 may have been big enough for the equipment that NZ had, eg M-113 and UH-1H, it is not really big enough for some of the equipment they have today, eg LAV III and NH-90.

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