Boeing today debuted the first P-8A Poseidon aircraft for New Zealand in its Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) livery. New Zealand is one of eight nations to have acquired the P-8 as their new multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft. The New Zealand Government purchased four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft that will eventually replace the current fleet of six aging P-3K2 Orion aircraft. The P-8As will provide advanced capabilities to maintain situational awareness in neighboring waters on and below the surface of the ocean. First flight is scheduled in the coming weeks followed by mission systems installation. The aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to the New Zealand Ministry of Defence later this year.
“The aircraft features the iconic Kiwi roundel, a native bird to New Zealand. Although flightless, the Kiwi bird is recognizable and will continue ‘flying’ as a symbol on the P-8A for decades to come,” said Sheena Vince Cruz, Boeing P-8 Asia-Pacific region program manager.
The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is an American maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft developed and produced by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800ERX. It was developed for the United States Navy (USN). The P-8 operates in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles. It is armed with torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons, can drop and monitor sonobuoys, and can operate in conjunction with other assets, including the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The P-8 is operated by the United States Navy, the Indian Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.
Boeing publicly identified the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a potential customer in 2008, as a replacement for its P-3 Orions, due for replacement in 2025. In April 2017, the U.S. State Department approved the possible foreign military sale of up to four P-8As with equipment and support, valued at US$1.46 billion. In July 2018, the New Zealand government announced the purchase of four P-8As, to begin operations in 2023. Four P-8As were ordered in March 2019. The RNZAF is planning to operate the type for at least 30 years. In September 2020 the inaugural Royal New Zealand Air Force crew for the P-8A graduated training at Jacksonville Florida, USA. This crew will then qualify as instructors to train the first RNZAF crews back in New Zealand.
The Boeing Company is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, telecommunications equipment, and missiles worldwide for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future, leading with sustainability, and cultivating a culture based on the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity. Boeing is among the largest global aerospace manufacturers; it is the third-largest defense contractor in the world based on 2020 revenue, and is the largest exporter in the United States by dollar value.