“It’s coming” – NZ P-8A Poseidon acquisition nears

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 25, 2018
A US Navy P-8A Poseidon sits on the ramp next to a RNZAF P-3K2 Orion and a RAAF AP-3C at RAAF Base Pearce in January 2016. (Defence)

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!”

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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)

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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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23 Comments

  • Chris

    says:

    It makes sense for the RNZAF to purchase the P-8A as it will be compatible with the RAAF similar to the previous RAAF/RNZAF usage of the Orions.

  • James

    says:

    Good on the kiwis. Glad they will be getting some new kit. Hope they get a nod for some new transports also.

  • George

    says:

    Excellent proposal, hope it comes to fruition sooner more than later.

  • PAUL

    says:

    P3 replacement is academic with P8, but Herk replacement could be tricky A400’s or C130J’s?….

    A few Tritons Too

  • Andrew

    says:

    Would make more sense if both Australia and New Zealand operated as one defence force

    Although still keeping our National Identities , under the ANZAC umbrella

    Combined P-8 resourcing would be much better, and one Conversion course for both Countries

    Here’s hope the RNZAF get the C-130J and at least six aircraft to enhance the Airlift capability

    Helen Clarkes legacy has really ruined to effectiveness of the RNZAF, let alone NZDF in General

    Here’s hoping Ron Mark and current Government will , establish the Strike Wing again soon, bring 75 Squadron
    and 2 Squadron back to life…

    • Matt Garmonsway

      says:

      This is absolute nonsense Andrew. Helen Clark’s (without an e) Labour government actually invested more in the NZDF than the Bolger-Shipley government or the Key-English government. Yes the air combat wing was disbanded, but all three services received significant capital injections.

    • Mark

      says:

      You are right Andrew… The Clark legacy left the Airforce in a much weaker condition than it was before. Lost an enormous capability and while the disbanding savings gave the other services more to spend on there was very little that replaced the strike capability by making the navy stronger and more capable at the spear end. The same with army. The F-16 deal was approved by labors Quigley report yet sadly small mind thinking only made the NZDF a less of a defense force and more of a Peacekeeper force which sadly don’t win wars. Maybe things can change with the current government.

    • Mick C

      says:

      Good luck getting NZ to spend 2% of GDP on defence,

  • Paul

    says:

    Great news if it gets Cabinet approval.
    But the numbers are critical – replacing six P-3Cs with four P-8s isn’t a good sign. While the new aircraft are faster and should have much greater reliability when new, that advantage won’t last forever. Once they are 15+ years old and need more intensive servicing, the P-8 production line will be a distant memory and NZ could be stuck with insufficient aircraft. Australia has taken a much more forward-looking approach here, much though it pains a Kiwi to admit it!

  • PAUL

    says:

    @ Andrew I like your thinking ANZACS all the way & similar could be done with an RNZAF F35 purchase some day. @ Paul I think the NZDF will purchase a few Tritons to supplement the P8’s instead of buying 6 new aircraft.

  • Grumpy

    says:

    Fincastle anyone?

  • Anon-Kiwi

    says:

    I heard from a little birdie about the P-8 buy a couple of months ago. The same birdie said A400M for the Herc replacement. Number unknown but I would guess also four.

    • Sam

      says:

      I have heard the same rumour that the RNZAF could very well go A400M. When you think about it that aircraft makes sense due to the type of loads it is able to carry, NH90 for one. But will they think the A400M is a bit risky with all the delays and problems. Interesting, decision expected before November now.

  • tom

    says:

    Cant see Triton on the horizon for NZ when they cost nearly the same as P8, why make logistics harder with small buys. RAAF found out the hard way with only 4x C17 when they go in for deep maintenance RNZAF will also find out that with only 4x P8’s you need a minimum of 6 aircraft, id even go as far as make the P8 capability a joint NZ/AU Squadron you buy 4x outright AU/NZ go half’s in in 3 extra airframe so you buy 5.5 for 15x RAAF 7x RNAF/RAAF

  • PAUL

    says:

    @TOM Tritons as expensive as P8 really? @MARK Too right.. @ANON Yes I suspect with Germany & Spain having ordered too many than now required, there should be deals to be had. 4 x A400s for the price of 3… c130J is a great Aircraft but 4xA400s would be better than 5 C130 especially since the A400M can carry the NH90 & has no PNR issues flying to Antarctic. Also RAAF has C17/C130/C27 RNZAF could assist our fellow ANZACs with the niche capability of A400M

    • Richard Tyrrell

      says:

      I agree with you, 4 is not enough, should be one for one replacement. Unfortunately seems like four is all NZ will get,let’s hope we get maybe six new transports to replace the C130.

  • Dave

    says:

    Any such purchase will be subject to a high degree of left-leaning politics. Ron Mark favours the P8 purchase becuase his old mates in the military are desperate to replace nearly 55-year-old warbird collectors items that are getting increasingly harder and expensive to service and maintain. Their ever-tightening budgets cannot cope.

    The other, and far more critical factor, is that NZ has a socialist-green coalition government, heavily reliant on peaceniks for support and supply to exist. These people do not want a cent spent on the military no matter how good a deal is offered. Laboiur will need the support of the National opposition to get these deals made – and the Nationals maintain no desire to make Labour look successful. The Orions will be forced to soldier on for a good few years yet. let’s hope none of them fall out of the sky in the meantime.

  • Sam

    says:

    It’s great to see the RNZAF getting the P-8, but yes like a few other comment she is four aircraft enough. You effectively have 3 P-8s as one is on phase or out for maintenance. The next one they need to sort out is the Hercules and 757 replacement. C-130J seems the favourite but I don’t think you can go past the KC-390. A400 to replace the 757. A decision can’t be far away on this surely?

  • Kev Addis

    says:

    My choice is: 4 X P8’s
    10 x C295’s (4 of them set up for Maritime S & R roles)
    3 X A400’s
    The C295 Transport aircraft would be ideal for troop transport/Para/Pacific Island/SATs – tasking while the A400 would be ideal for the longer/Heavier airlift and Antarctic tasks.

  • Craigy

    says:

    According to the Australian newspaper, the Kiwis have announced the purchase of four P8s with operations to commence in 2023

  • Sam

    says:

    Great stuff, can’t wait to see them in NZ skies, fits in perfectly with the RAAF P-8A’s. The UK has them on order and hopefully Canada also get them. C-130H replacement announcement not far away now. Fingers x for a suitable replacement for the Hercs.

  • PAUL

    says:

    NEW EYES FOR 5 EYES..

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