King Air 350s might play a role in civil maritime security

Will the RNZAF’s new turbo prop Hawker Pacific King Air 350s fill part of the role identified in the 2019 Defence Capability Plan for civil maritime security?

The King Airs already train the air force’s new navigator and air warfare officers at Ohakea.  Now one has been identified at the Hawker Pacific base in Australia with what resembles a maritime surveillance radome on the lower fuselage.

The 2019 plan says the maritime security strategy will provide

“ … air surveillance capabilities that enhance all-of-Government maritime domain awareness in NZ and the Southern Ocean. The capabilities delivered through this investment will be dedicated to civil surveillance requirements, with Defence support for their delivery and operation.”

The intention is to free up the new Boeing P-8A Poseidons to fly more missions in the South Pacific and further afield. Investment in a range of capabilities will be considered, including satellite surveillance, unmanned aerial vehicles and traditional fixed-wing surveillance aircraft. Continue reading “King Air 350s might play a role in civil maritime security”

The Poseidon venture is important for firming NZ’s military alliances

The $2.34 billion order for four P-8A Poseidons to replace the RNZAF’s 1966-model P-3 Orions is the icing on the cake for the NZDF is the light of last week’s defence review.

NZ First may last only one election cycle but Defence Minister Ron Mark and Foreign Minister Winston Peters will go down as having produced what many in defence circles believe to be the most clear-eyed defence assessment in 40 years. It also cements defence relations with Australia and the US. Continue reading “The Poseidon venture is important for firming NZ’s military alliances”