“The aircraft features the iconic Kiwi roundel, a native bird to New Zealand,” Sheena Vince Cruz, Boeing P-8 Asia-Pacific region program manager.
Boeing debuted the first P-8A Poseidon aircraft for New Zealand in its Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) livery on Jul. 21, 2022. New Zealand is one of eight nations to have acquired the P-8 as their new multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft.
“The aircraft features the iconic Kiwi roundel, a native bird to New Zealand,” said Sheena Vince Cruz, Boeing P-8 Asia-Pacific region program manager, in a company news release. “Although flightless, the Kiwi bird is recognizable and will continue ‘flying’ as a symbol on the P-8A for decades to come.”
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.
In July 2018 the Government approved acquisition of four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to replace the six aging P-3K2 Orion aircraft. Of the available options, the P-8A Poseidon was assessed to be the lowest cost and lowest risk option for New Zealand.
The P-8As will provide advanced capabilities to maintain situational awareness in neighboring waters on and below the surface of the ocean.
It will allow for:
- Participation in international task groups
- Environmental monitoring
- Search and rescue
- Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief
- Protection of the Southern Ocean.
The aircraft will be operated by the New Zealand Defence Force, and will provide service to other government departments including the Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Customs Service, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, The Rescue Coordination Centre and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
RNZAF aircrew continue to be trained on the new aircraft in the United States, ensuring New Zealand will have enough qualified personnel to operate the P-8As when they arrive.
The RNZAF has a fully qualified P-8A aircrew operating as instructors with the US Navy gaining operational experience with the new capability. Two RNZAF crews have commenced training with the US Navy at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
P-8A maintenance instructors, acceptance and delivery crews continue to work with the Royal Australian Air Force at RAAF Base Edinburgh, Adelaide, Australia.
Photo credit: Boeing