New Zealand’s P-8A Poseidon fleet now operational

After four years preparing to operate and maintain the new Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, today, 1 July 2023, is the day the new capability is formally released and becomes available for operational tasking.

FILE PHOTO: An RNZAF P-8A Poseidon at RNZAF Base Ohakea. New Zealand’s Poseidon fleet is now operational, taking over the role carried out by P-3 Orions for the past 57 years. RNZDF photo supplied..

Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark said the new fleet’s introduction into service marked the beginning of a new era.

“New Zealand’s maritime security is central to our survival and success,” Air Vice-Marshal Clark said.

“Poseidon is the latest in a series of aircraft going back to the early days of the RNZAF that have kept watch from the air – securing our maritime resources, defending our region against military threats, building regional resilience, preventing trans-national crime and, of course, carrying out search-and-rescue and humanitarian-aid and disaster-relief missions.

“In the Poseidon fleet, we now have the modern standard in technology to perform these crucial roles.

“Poseidon has the breadth of versatility and the depth of capability required for the job in today’s complex security environment.”

P-8A Poseidon is operated by No. 5 Squadron and replaces the P-3 Orions, which served New Zealand for 57 years.

No. 5 Squadron Commanding Officer Wing Commander Mark Whiteside said achieving readiness to undertake operations was the culmination of years of hard work from a wide range of people.

“Right from the start, we knew that people would be at the heart of this generational change – that every trade in our squadron, in the air and on the ground, and others on base with us who are involved in what we do – would be needed to put us on the mark to begin operations on time.

“And so it has proved to be,” Wing Commander Whiteside said.

“I am extremely proud of all our aviators as we begin this new era – they have worked hard, and now they will be able to see all that effort pay off as the P-8As start work.”

To accommodate the introduction of the new aircraft, No. 5 Squadron has moved from RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai where the P-3K2 Orions were based, to Base Ohakea in Manawatū.

RNZAF will operate a fleet of four P-8A Poseidon.






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Posted by Brian Hartigan

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