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P-3K Orion mission systems upgrade

This project has upgraded the mission management, sensors, communications and navigation systems for the fleet of six Air Force P-3K Orion surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.

The scope of this project includes replacing the data management, sensor, communications and navigation systems, and providing associated ground systems.

Government approval

September 2004
Project budget of NZ$352 million (excl. GST) is approved.


  • L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, US, signed October 2004 - prime contractor for the project.
  • L-3/IS engaged the New Zealand companies:
    • Safe Air Ltd - modification to aircraft 2-6 at their facility in Blenheim
    • Beca Applied Technologies - sub-contractors to assist with software development.

Current status

This project is complete.

The fleet of six aircraft have been upgraded and delivered to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF):

  • NZ 4204 (prototype aircraft) - delivered April 2011
  • NZ 4201 - delivered March 2012
  • NZ 4205 - delivered September 2012
  • NZ 4203 - delivered  April 2013
  • NZ 4206 - delivered February 2014
  • NZ 4202 - delivered August 2014.