The six Lockheed P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force are to be updated, again. About a year after the final aircraft of the No 5 Squadron returned to its home “pimped” and well, Auckland is now opting for newer sensors.
According to a New Zealand defence source the detection and reconnaissance systems for targets underneath the surface (read: submarines) is way too old. If everything goes according to plan, Boeing is going to change that, for tens of millions of dollars.
A decade ago the then Labour government decided to modernize the planes, but not some of its main systems. The current centre-right leadership now has to decide about the Orion’s capabilities.
The upgrade is expected in the new defence plans to be announced in April this year.