The first P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft Boeing is building for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) has rolled out of the paint shop with its national livery.
Unveiled by Boeing on July 21, the P-8 is one of four submarine-hunting aircraft New Zealand bought under an NZ$2.346 billion investment from 2018.
New Zealand is one of eight nations to have acquired the P-8 as their new multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft.
“The aircraft features the iconic Kiwi roundel, a native bird to New Zealand,” said Sheena Vince Cruz, Boeing P-8 Asia-Pacific region program manager.
“Although flightless, the Kiwi bird is recognizable and will continue ‘flying’ as a symbol on the P-8A for decades to come.”
First flight is scheduled in the coming weeks followed by mission systems installation. The aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to the New Zealand’s defense ministry later this year.
The P-8A Poseidons will eventually replace the current fleet of six aging P-3K2 Orion aircraft, the first of which was already retired in September 2021.
The P-8As will provide advanced capabilities to maintain situational awareness in neighboring waters on and below the surface of the ocean.
A derivative of a modified Boeing 737-800ERX, the Poseidon P-8A was developed as a long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft for the US Navy. The armament of the Poseidon, in US Navy configuration, consists of five internal and six external stations for AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, AGM-84 Harpoon, and the Mark 54 torpedo with a High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) system.