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.”
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.”
The DCP document is available here.