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New Zealand officially receives first P-8A Poseidon MPA

RNZAF Poseidon P-8 handover
Photo: Boeing

The Royal New Zealand Air Force has received the first of four P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft from Boeing.

The aircraft was officially handed over on December 7 in a ceremony at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, after it completed its first flight this summer.

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.

“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 US Navy for the P-8A.

New Zealand is investing NZ$2.346 billion into the Poseidon program, and is one of eight global P-8 customers. In preparation for the arrival of the first Poseidon at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea, the country has begun an NZ$206 million upgrade to critical infrastructure at the base.

Boeing Defence Australia will provide sustainment services for New Zealand’s fleet with the support of the P-8 international program.