New Zealand will order four P8-A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft from Boeing costing US$1.6 Billion to replace six aging Orion patrolling planes.
Defense Minister Ron Mark was quoted as saying by AP on Monday that the country will take delivery of the planes and begin operations from 2023 and will pay for the planes and infrastructure over a number of years. "Maintaining a maritime patrol capability is essential for New Zealand, for national security and for our ability to contribute to global security efforts," Mark said.
Mark said the purchase allowed New Zealand to tap into the billions of dollars in research that had been poured into the planes, and that flying the same aircraft as military counterparts in Canada, the U.S. and Australia would be a huge advantage.
According to Boeing, the planes are designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Mark said one operation the planes could help carry out would be to gather high-quality images and intelligence on illegal fishing that takes place in the Southern Ocean. He added New Zealand could use the information to help prosecute offenders in international courts.