New Zealand is close to placing an order for four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft, with the country’s Defence Minister Ron Mark due to present the acquisition for approval to the NZ Cabinet Government Administration and Expenditure Review Committee on Monday.
“I am confident now that the recommendation I will take to Cabinet committee stacks up, that it is robust, it’s justifiable and I’m in the stage where I am consulting with people,” Mark told a Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee hearing earlier this month, stuff.co.nz has reported.
“So…not being able to pre-judge what the Cabinet committee or Cabinet might decide, because that is for me to put the case down, I would simply say, put your cell phones in flight mode, put your tray up, buckle in, hold on, it’s coming!”
After consideration by the Administration and Expenditure Review Committee, final approval would then be made by the NZ Government’s cabinet, which could take place by late July.
The P-8A would replace the RNZAF’s six ageing but upgraded P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft under the Future Air Surveillance Capability project.
VIDEO – the RNZAF accepted its first upgraded P-3K2 Orion into service in 2011. (NZ MoD)
Last year a US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification of the possible sale put the price of the four aircraft and a support and spares package at US$1.46bn (A$1.97bn, NZ$2.12bn), although this price could come down if packaged as part of a larger multi-year procurement (MYP) buy with other P-8 operators, the US Navy, RAAF and RAF.
The DSCA said the sales would include “support equipment, operation support systems, maintenance trainer/classrooms, publications, software, engineering, and logistics technical assistance, aircraft ferry, and other associated training, support equipment and services.”
Australia is acquiring up to 15 P-8As, suggesting opportunities for trans-Tasman cooperation in training and maintenance support for the aircraft.
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