The New Zealand government is reportedly close to placing an order for four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
Following the April 2017 approval to acquire the aircraft in from the US State Department, NZ Defence Minister Ron Mark will reportedly present the acquisition for approval to the NZ Cabinet Government Administration and Expenditure Review Committee on June 25.
“I am confident now that the recommendation I will take to Cabinet committee stacks up, that it is robust, it’s justifiable and I’m in the stage where I am consulting with people,” Mr Mark told Stuff. “So…not being able to pre-judge what the Cabinet committee or Cabinet might decide, because that is for me to put the case down, I would simply say, put your cell phones in flight mode, put your tray up, buckle in, hold on, it’s coming!”
The P-8 will replace the RNZAF’s six ageing P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, some of which have been in service since the late 1960s.
Last year’s US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification of the possible sale put the price of the four aircraft and a support and spares package at US$1.46bn (A$1.97bn, NZ$2.12bn), although this price could come down if packaged as part of a larger multi-year procurement (MYP) buy with other P-8 operators, the US Navy, RAAF, and RAF.
The DSCA said the sales would include “support equipment, operation support systems, maintenance trainer/classrooms, publications, software, engineering, and logistics technical assistance, aircraft ferry, and other associated training, support equipment and services.”