Further investment in new Defence capabilities
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee today welcomed the signing of a contract to upgrade the Royal New Zealand Air Force Underwater, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability on our six Orion aircraft with Boeing for a total of $36 million.
Mr Brownlee says having an underwater surveillance capability deters interference with the sea lines of communication that New Zealand and many of its friends rely on for trade purposes.
“Knowing what is happening underwater is integral to monitoring submarine activity,” Mr Brownlee says.
“This is particularly important in the Asia-Pacific region which is home to two-thirds of the world’s submarines.
“The current Orion systems are old and have become less reliable.
“I am pleased that New Zealand businesses Safe Air, Beca and Marops Limited will also be involved in supporting this acquisition through its life, with around 25 per cent of the value of the contract being spent with these companies.”
The recently released 2016 Defence White Paper confirmed the importance of the New Zealand Defence Force having capabilities to cope with the realities of a complex and changing strategic environment, and to enable it to operate across a broad spectrum of geographic and operating environments.
Work is already underway within Defence on the Future Air Surveillance Capability project which will select a replacement for the Orion aircraft, which is due to retire from service in the mid-2020s.