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New Zealand upgrading Ohakea air force base for Poseidon MPA operation

P-8A Poseidon MPA in New Zealand
A US Navy Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft at RNZAF base Ohakea

The New Zealand government has given its approval for a NZ$206 million upgrade to critical infrastructure at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea, with the first phase starting later this year.

The investment will be made in three phases over five years, with cabinet approval necessary for final project and funding arrangements for each phase.

“Base Ohakea plays an essential role in maintaining New Zealand’s national security. It is a principal staging point for NZDF operations, and our response to national, regional and global humanitarian disasters and emergencies,” New Zealand defense minister Ron Mark said.

Critical compliance and safety issues will be addressed, as well as upgrades to fueling and logistics facilities, taxiways and aprons, accommodation and fresh, storm and waste water reticulation.

Demands on Base Ohakea are increasing with four busy fleets of aircraft – the NH90 and A109 helicopters, the KA350 small transport and training aircraft, and the Texan pilot trainer.

In the near future the base will need to be ready to accept the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft fleet. New Zealand signed contracts for the purchase of the submarine hunters in 2018, with the first scheduled to arrive in 2022.

“While the upgrades at Ohakea focus on infrastructure, there is a direct correlation to the wellbeing of our personnel. Improvements to health, safety and compliance enables the defense force to meet the needs of a modern workforce,” Ron Mark added.