Defense Minister Andrew Little has marked the arrival of the fourth and final P-8A Poseidon aircraft at the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Base Ohakea August 18th.

“The delivery of all Poseidon P-8As marks a significant milestone in this Government’s historic investment in our defence capability to support the security and stability of our region,” Defence Minister Andrew Little said.

“The aircraft will be used by the RNZAF to conduct a range of tasks including aerial surveillance of New Zealand’s areas of interest such as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the South Pacific and the Southern Ocean including the Ross Dependency and Antarctica.

“Tasks and roles would also include resource protection, natural disaster support and search and rescue operations alongside Pacific partners,” Andrew Little said.

“The P-8A Poseidon aircraft replace the P-3K2 Orion aircraft, which served the RNZAF for nearly 60 years.

“The P-8As are faster, more reliable, and will be key to supporting national and international disaster responses as a result of climate change, which we know is a top security concern for the Pacific,” Andrew Little said.

“With the fleet now complete, the defense force can be confident it has more resources to provide a meaningful response when tasked to do what it needs to.”