The first of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) four new multi-mission long-range maritime patrol aircraft has arrived in New Zealand and has been welcomed at a ceremony at RNZAF Base Ohakea December 13th.

The P-8A Poseidon fleet will replace the P-3K2 Orion fleet, which first entered service in the 1960s. The remaining three Poseidons will arrive by mid-2023.

The Poseidon fleet will support New Zealand’s peace and security operations, maritime surveillance, resource protection, humanitarian and disaster response in New Zealand, the Pacific and further abroad.

The Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark, said the ceremony marked the start of another chapter for the Air Force and its people.

“Today is a major milestone in building a modern and capable Defence Force for New Zealand,” he said.

“It is the next step in the ongoing modernization of our capabilities and the enhancement of the many roles of the aviators who comprise today’s Air Force.

“Whether it’s saving lives at sea, securing our vast maritime resources, preventing transnational crime, building regional resilience or defending our region against military threats, the P-8A Poseidon – like the P-3K2 Orion before it – has the breadth of versatility and the depth of capability to take the job on,” he said.