Fourth and final P-8A Poseidon lands in New Zealand

17/07/2023 News

Five years ago, on 2 July 2018, Cabinet approved the acquisition of four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to replace the aging P-3K2 Orion aircraft – a $2.34 billion, once in a generation investment. Today, the fourth and final aircraft was welcomed to New Zealand, landing at its new home at Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Base Ohakea.

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.

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

“From the initial contract with the US Foreign Military Sales process, through to the construction of the fuselages in Kansas, the trip to the Boeing factory in Seattle, their paint roll out and test flights and operational release earlier this month, this has been an incredibly smooth process.

“These aircraft are now all ready to begin their lifetime of service to Aotearoa New Zealand.”

The four P-8A Poseidons will be used by the Royal New Zealand Air Force to conduct a range of tasks including aerial surveillance of New Zealand’s areas of interest such as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the South Pacific and the Southern Ocean including the Ross Dependency and Antarctica. They will support a range of Government agencies, including Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Customs, New Zealand Police, and the Department of Conservation.

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, Canada, Republic of Korea, Germany, 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


Watch (YouTube links)


Related links

Timeline: P-8A Poseidon: Air Surveillance Maritime Patrol for Aotearoa(external link)