No. 6 Squadron is a maritime squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The squadron motto is “Vigilance with Patience” and based at RNZAF Base Auckland. Following Japan’s entry into World War II in December 1941, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) had to switch from primarily training pilots to Europe into a combat force. No. 6 Squadron RNZAF was formed as an army co-operation unit at Milson in February 1942 flying Vickers Vildebeest and Hawker Hind aircraft. At the same time, No. 5 Squadron RNZAF moved to Fiji with Short Singapores and Vickers Vildebeest and Vincent biplanes. From May 1943 No. 6 squadron undertook action against the Japanese. The squadron also conducted search and rescue missions for allied aircrew and seamen and undertook many open sea rescues. The squadron was disbanded overseas in August 1945.
After the war No. 6 Squadron was re-equipped with Short Sunderland flying boats as a Territorial Air Force unit and also operated float equipped Auster light aircraft. The squadron was disbanded in August 1957, with all Sunderlands transferring to No. 5 Squadron prior to their replacement by modern Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft. No. 6 Squadron was re-formed in 2005 to take over No.3 Squadron’s role in operating the Royal New Zealand Navy’s air element. No. 6 Squadron operates New Zealand’s ten SH-2G(I) Seasprite helicopters. The squadron was re-established on 31 October 2005 by separating the Naval Support Flight from No. 3 Squadron RNZAF. 6 Squadron is manned by Royal New Zealand Navy observers, pilots and helicopter loadmasters. The aircraft are maintained by RNZAF engineers, technicians and suppliers. RNZAF aircrew can also sometimes be posted to the squadron if required.
The Royal New Zealand Navy has acquired ten SH-2G(I) Seasprites that replaced the existing SH-2G(NZ) aircraft in April 2016. New Zealand purchased five SH-2Gs at the same time as Australia. However, New Zealand opted for new-build airframes that were outfitted with different avionics. The SH-2G purchase was completed at NZ$12 million under the $338 million budgeted (excluding GST). Eight of the helicopters have entered active service representing a marked increase in capability while the other two are kept as spares. Delivered in 2015 to replace the previous SH-2G(NZ) model, these helicopters have an important role in multiplying the capabilities of our naval fleet and fulfil a range of roles. They can embark on Royal New Zealand Navy Ships HMNZS TE KAHA, TE MANA, CANTERBURY, WELLINGTON and OTAGO. Seasprites are equipped with Penguin anti-ship missiles, torpedoes and the Mag 58 General Purpose Machine Gun.