New Zealand has received the first of four P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft built by Boeing in a ceremony at the Museum of Flight.
“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,” said Sarah Minson, acting Deputy Secretary Capability Delivery, New Zealand Ministry of Defence.
“The P-8A will also assist our South Pacific neighbors and deliver long-range search and rescue capability.”
The milestone comes four years after the New Zealand Government entered into an agreement with the U.S. Navy for the P-8A.
New Zealand’s three remaining P-8 aircraft are all in advanced stages of production and will be delivered in 2023. The aircraft will replace New Zealand’s current fleet of six P-3K2 Orions and will be based at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea.
“The unmatched, multi-mission maritime patrol capabilities of the P-8 will provide New Zealand the ability to extend their reach into the Pacific and beyond,” said Philip June, vice president and program manager, P-8 Programs.
“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.”
To date, the global operating P-8 fleet has amassed more than 450,000 mishap-free flight hours.
The P-8 is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. In addition, the P-8 performs humanitarian and search and rescue missions around the globe.
Recently, the company delivered 150th P-8 Poseidon that will be operated by US Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) One based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.