Aotearoa’s first P-8A handed over by Boeing

08/12/2022 News

Aotearoa New Zealand’s first P-8A Poseidon has been officially handed over by Boeing at a ceremony in Seattle, United States today.

The Poseidon aircraft will deliver support to New Zealand’s peace and security operations, maritime surveillance, resource protection, humanitarian and disaster responses, in New Zealand, the Pacific, and further abroad.

New Zealand Consul-General to Los Angeles Jeremy Clarke-Watson attended on behalf of the New Zealand Government and spoke at the official ceremony, hosted by Boeing.

“For New Zealand, as a maritime nation and one of the world’s largest Exclusive Economic Zones, the ability to quickly survey the ocean is vital. The P-8A capability ensures we can continue to deliver the country’s maritime surveillance needs and to be able to offer assistance to our Pacific partners. It also adds a further connection within our long-standing defence and security cooperation with the United States, our close strategic partner.”

Sarah Minson, acting Deputy Secretary of Capability Delivery at Manatū Kaupapa Waonga Ministry of Defence thanked all the team, both in the United States and New Zealand, for their commitment to the delivery of the first aircraft.

“From the initial contract with the US Foreign Military Sales process four years ago, through to the construction of the fuselages in Kansas, the trip to the Boeing factory in Seattle, its first flight and the final fitout of this aircraft, this has been an incredibly smooth process.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Defence, I offer my sincere thanks to all those involved in this project which represents a once in a generation investment to strengthen New Zealand’s maritime surveillance capability.”

The aircraft will now make its way to Base Ohakea, courtesy of the US Navy, where an official welcome ceremony is planned for 13 December. The remaining three aircraft will be delivered by mid-2023.

Watch a video on the P-8A Journey to New Zealand(external link)


About the P-8A Poseidon

The P-8A Poseidon is a multi-mission aircraft that was developed to replace the P-3 Orion for long-range maritime patrol in the United States Navy. It has also been selected by Australia, the United Kingdom and Norway and a variant is used by India. The P-8A has been designed and purpose built to patrol maritime environments and monitor vessels on and below the surface.

The P-8A is a military aircraft based on the commercial Boeing 737-800 fuselage. However, it has been substantially modified to include a weapons bay, hard points, increased electrical generation capacity, Boeing 737-900 wings and structural strengthening for military operations. The aircraft is produced by Boeing Defense, Space and Security in Seattle.

The P-8A has modern surveillance sensors, electronic support measures, self-protection systems and a communications suite of radios, data links and satellite communication. A fuel capacity of almost 34 tonnes, gives the P-8A the ability to remain on station 2,000 kilometres from base.

P-8A Poseidon statistics:

Wingspan: 123.6 ft (37.64 m)

Length: 129.5 ft (39.47 m)

Height: 42.1 ft (12.83 m)

Propulsion: Two CFM56-7B engines 27,300 lbs thrust

Speed: 490 kts (902km/h)

Range: 1,200 nm with 4 hours on station

Ceiling: 41,000 ft (12,496 m)

Crew: 9