Ever since the Lange Government in the 1980s and its anti-nuclear campaigns, the Navy and the RNZAF have been reluctant to talk about anti-submarine warfare. Fortunately those days are past: the Lange campaign did nothing to reduce nuclear weapons, nor the spread of nuclear, let alone conventional, submarines.
Now real-world realities have returned. The two RNZN frigate Te Mana and Te Kaha are having their anti-submarine systems upgraded. And Boeing has just completed a $US22m programme to improve the capability of the RNZAF’s five 50-year-old Orions in the anti-submarine warfare mission.
This project involved grades and modifications to both mission systems and aircraft components, the addition of improved simulation for training purposes, and support.
“Boeing’s low-risk, affordable and platform-agnostic solution utilises deployed sonobuoys to detect the type and location of submarines and sends information back to the acoustics operator,” says the company.
“The upgrade also includes an onboard training system that simulates deploying buoys and receiving underwater acoustic data to ensure acoustics operators experience real-world mission scenarios.”
Four P-8A Poseidons will replace the Orions beginning in 2023 and Boeing says the Orion upgrade will allow crews to more easily transition to the new type.