New Zealand’s Poseidon Adventure

New Zealand could make a decision on whether or not to proceed with its planned acquisition of four P-8A aircraft by the end of the year. (Boeing)

New Zealand will soon significantly enhance its maritime surveillance capabilities with the approval by the United States for its request to acquire four Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) under a potential $1.4 billion contract.

These aircraft are expected to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s six ageing Lockheed Martin P-3K Orion MPAs. The New Zealand ministry of defence suggests the planned P-8A acquisition is not yet a firm commitment, however it has slated replacing the P-3K by 2019. A formal decision regarding the acquisition is anticipated before the end of this year. Should the acquisition take place, New Zealand will join a list of P-8A customers which already includes the Royal Australian Navy, US Navy, the Indian Navy, the Luftforsvaret (Royal Norwegian Air Force) and the Royal Air Force.

Moreover, during a visit by US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia on 20th May, a raft of materiel purchases were announced by the Kingdom, with Boeing announcing in a press release on 21st May that an unspecified number of P-8A aircraft would be acquired by Riyadh.

by Stephen W. Miller