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RNZAF receives final P-8 Poseidon

The Royal New Zealand Air Force's four Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft will be used for a diverse range of air operations, including maritime reconnaissance and combat operations, tracking transnational criminal activity, environmental and weather activities, and search and rescue. (New Zealand Ministry of Defence)

New Zealand has received its fourth and final Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

The New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the arrival of the fourth aircraft on 17 July. “The Poseidon aircraft will deliver support to New Zealand's peace and security operations, maritime surveillance, resource protection, and humanitarian and disaster responses in New Zealand, the Pacific, and further abroad,” the MoD said in a statement.

The MoD added that the fleet of four aircraft will be used by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in diverse air operations over New Zealand's areas of interest. This includes the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the South Pacific, and the Southern Ocean, including the Ross Dependency and Antarctica.

The aircraft “will support a range of government agencies, including the Ministry for Primary Industries, the New Zealand Customs [Service], the New Zealand Police, and the Department of Conservation”, the MoD said.

Janes previously reported that New Zealand's first P-8A (Serial No NZ4801) began operations from Fiji in April. The deployment of the aircraft in Fiji would allow the RNZAF to support islands aligned with New Zealand. These include the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, and partners such as the Solomon Islands. The now-retired RNZAF Lockheed P-3K2 Orions previously operated from Samoa.

With a maximum take-off weight of 85,139 kg, the P-8A is equipped primarily with the Raytheon AN/APY-10 maritime surveillance radar and the L-3 Wescam MX-20HD digital electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensors.

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