The P-8A Poseidon on the flight line at RNZAF Base Ohakea (photo courtesy of New Zealand Defence Force).

New Zealand receives first of four P-8A Poseidons

New Zealand accepted its first P-8A Poseidon during a ceremony held in Seattle, Washington, Dec. 7. This is the first of four P-8A deliveries to the New Zealand Defence Force. The P-8A replaces New Zealand’s current fleet P-3K2 Orions.

This acquisition is a significant investment to strengthen New Zealand’s maritime surveillance capability. The aircraft has been designed and purpose built to patrol maritime environments and monitor vessels on and below the surface. The P-8A supports New Zealand’s peace and security operations, maritime surveillance, resource protection, humanitarian and disaster responses, in New Zealand, the Pacific, and further abroad.

To quote Rear Admiral Tony Rossi, the director, Navy International Programs Office, “Now more than any other modern time, peace and stability in the IndoPacific region is the key to global security.  New Zealand’s acquisition of the P-8 aligns with this fundamental interest and provides one more bond with likeminded allies and partners.”

The P-8A Poseidon has brought together partners world-wide who depend on the advanced anti-submarine, anti-surface, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission it provides. The various international partners in conjunction with the U.S. Navy create a unique opportunity for peace and security.

“We are excited to bring New Zealand into the P-8A family,” said Mr. Gary Kurtz, program executive officer, Air, Anti-submarine Warfare and Special Mission Programs. “We look forward to deepening our long-standing maritime patrol and reconnaissance relationship with New Zealand, which further enhances the global network of P-8A maritime patrol aircraft operations.”

For New Zealand and other foreign military sales customers, the P-8A translates into cost savings across manpower, fuel, and transit time. Foreign military sales opportunities leverage cost-sharing and savings, through commonality of parts, interoperability of systems as well as reduced production time.  

The P-8A is a multi-mission maritime patrol and reconnaissance and humanitarian response aircraft. The US Navy active duty fleet completed transition from the P-3C to the P-8A in 2020. The capabilities the Poseidon offers are enhanced through secure, interoperable, net-ready systems. The aircraft can also carry high-quality weapon systems making it a platform ready and equipped for any mission, anywhere it is needed.

The P-8A continuously serves the combatant command areas of operation and supports overseas contingency operations. P-8A is part of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) Program (PMA-290), which manages the acquisition, development, support, and delivery of the P-8A, P-3C Orion, EP-3E Aries, and international programs to multiple foreign countries.


The first New Zealand P-8A sits on the tarmac in Seattle, Wa. before the Dec. 7, 2022 Boeing and New Zealand delivery ceremony. 

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