On 7th December 2022, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) received its first Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA). The official solemn ceremony was held at the Museum of Flight, in Seattle, USA.
The aircraft was delivered only four years since the New Zealand entered into an agreement with the US Navy for acquiring the P-8A aeroplane. Three remaining Poseidons, already ordered by New Zealand, are currently being manufactured by Boeing with their delivery expected within 2023.
The new Boeing-manufactured MPA will replace the existing fleet of six P-3K2 Orion aeroplanes operated by the RNZAF. All the P-8As will be based at Ohakea air force base, located in the central part of North Island.
´As a maritime nation, delivery of the P-8A will ensure New Zealand maintains a patrol and response capability that will protect and support law enforcement in our Exclusive Economic Zone and Southern Ocean,´ said Sarah Minson, acting Deputy Secretary Capability Delivery, New Zealand Ministry of Defence, and added: ´The P-8A will also assist our South Pacific neighbours and deliver long-range search and rescue capability.´
In addition, on 12th December 2022, the Boeing company announced in their official press release that Lufthansa Technik was awarded a contract for sustainment services of the RNZAF future fleet of four P-8A aircraft.
The contract is for provision of Lufthansa Technik’s Total Component Support (TCS), a comprehensive component services program for the 737 covering more than four hundred commercial common parts included in the configuration of the P-8A, a military derivative of the popular airliner. Leveraging the 737 commercial market in support of P-8A international customers will allow smaller fleets easier access to necessary global supply chain inventory from the more than four thousand 737 aircraft operating today.
´Our collaboration with Lufthansa Technik is a strong example of how industry can work together to solve customer challenges and maintain high readiness rates,´ said Torbjörn (Turbo) Sjögren, Boeing vice president and general manager, Government Services. ´Our goal is to expand service offerings from a strategic German industry partner for additional P-8A customers to benefit.´
The TCS program provided by Lufthansa Technik allows the RNZAF to reduce investment in commercial common parts and improve aircraft readiness through access to the German company’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) global supply chain.
It is also worth to mention that in 2021, the Boeing company and Lufthansa Technik signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding to support Germany’s P-8A Poseidon fleet.
According to the official statement of the Boeing company, there are already 155 built and delivered P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The aircraft being in service reached more than 450,000 collective, mishap-free flight hours.
The P-8A is currently among the most popular long-range MPA in the world, being operated by the Royal Australian Air Force, the Indian Navy, the Royal Norwegian Air Force, the Royal Air Force and the US Navy. The Poseidon MPA were also ordered by Germany and South Korea.
Operational capabilities of the P-8A Poseidon include not only the anti-submarine warfare but covers also intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks, as well as ability to perform search and rescue missions.
Cover photo: First P-8A Poseidon for New Zealand. All photos and quotations © Boeing. Information from The Boeing Company press releases were used.