The first of four leased Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft has been certified for use by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), New Zealand’s Minister of Defence, Ron Mark, announced on 10 May, adding that the remaining three platforms will be delivered progressively into 2019.
The twin-engined aircraft, which will replace the RNZAF’s current fleet of four leased King Air 200 platforms, are expected to provide the service with a new pilot-training capability. Moreover, two of the four King Air 350s will be configured to assist in maritime surveillance tasks across New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone.
“These smaller aircraft have proved cost efficient for the extensive multi-engine training RNZAF pilots need after becoming proficient on single engine aircraft,” said Mark on 10 May, pointing out that with the end of lease of the old fleet, the government has also made a decision to increase the RNZAF’s domestic training capability by bringing specialist aircrew training back to New Zealand for the first time in two decades.
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