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First New Zealand Poseidon touches down

written by Charbel Kadib | December 8, 2022

The first of four P-8 Poseidons has touched down in New Zealand – four years after its government secured approval for the acquisition from the United States.

The three remaining aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in 2023.

The P-8 Poseidon is a maritime patrol aircraft used for various roles, including reconnaissance and search and rescue. The Boeing-built aircraft is a military variant initially based on Boeing’s workhorse narrow-body 737 Next Generation.

It’s equipped with advanced sensors and mission systems, including a multi-role radar, high-definition cameras, a high-processing acoustic system, and an extensive communications suite.


New Zealand’s prospective P-8A Poseidon fleet — to be based out of Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea — is set to replace its existing fleet of six P-3K2 Orions.

“As a maritime nation, delivery of the P-8A will ensure New Zealand maintains a patrol and response capability that will protect and support law enforcement in our Exclusive Economic Zone and Southern Ocean,” Sarah Minson, acting deputy secretary, capability delivery, New Zealand Ministry of Defence, said.

“The P-8A will also assist our South Pacific neighbours and deliver long-range search and rescue capability.”

Philip June, vice president and program manager, P-8 programs, said the multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft would enable New Zealand to “extend their reach into the Pacific and beyond”.

He added, “New Zealand joins eight other global customers including nearby Australia that have selected or already operate the P-8 and benefit greatly from its long-range maritime surveillance and warfare capabilities.”

Delivery of New Zealand’s first P-8A Poseidon comes just months after Boeing Defence Australia secured a contract to sustain the fleet.

The initial contract — which is set to run to September 2028 — involves the provision of engineering and supply chain services for an initial six-year period.

The head agreement includes options to deliver services throughout the life of the fleet via rolling three-year extensions, subject to performance.

Australia’s own fleet is based at RAAF Base Edinburgh and was introduced to partially replace the RAAF’s fleet of AP-3C Orions, together with the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system.

Last year, the federal government announced it is to purchase an additional two P-8A Poseidons, taking Australia’s total fleet to 14.

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