New Zealand starts construction of Poseidon base

New Zealand’s defense minister marked the official start of construction works on a new base for the country’s future P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft with a sod-turning ceremony on November 29.

The home for the new fleet of submarine-hunting aircraft is being built at RNZAF Base Ohakea.

“The government’s investment in Ohakea will ensure the Royal New Zealand Air Force can manage, maintain and task the new fleet efficiently ahead of the first aircraft’s arrival in 2023,” says Ron Mark.

“The purchase of these aircraft to replace the aging 1960s-era P-3K2 Orions demonstrated a strong commitment to the security of New Zealand, and reinforced our foreign policy interests through enabling stronger defence contributions to Pacific and global security,”

“The government will make the once in a generation decisions required, after years of under-investment leading to aging equipment and infrastructure,” says Mark.

“Basing the P-8A fleet at Ohakea will be a boost for the economy and vitality of Manawatu and the surrounding region through the construction phase, and over the long term as around 270 members of the Air Force’s 5 Squadron bring their families to the area,”

In July 2018 the Coalition Government announced the decision to buy the fleet of four P-8A aircraft at an overall cost of $2.346 billion.

Photo: US Navy file photo of a P-8A Poseidon