New Zealand Air Force receives its final P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft


According to a PR published by the New Zealand MoD on July 17, 2023, the fourth and concluding Boeing P-8A Poseidon, a state-of-the-art maritime patrol aircraft, has arrived in New Zealand, marking a significant milestone in the modernization of the country's aviation capabilities.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Fourth P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. (Picture source: Royal New Zealand Air Force)


This momentous event comes five years after the Cabinet sanctioned the $2.34 billion once-in-a-generation procurement of these aircraft on July 2, 2018, to replace the P-3K2 Orion aircraft that had grown obsolete.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force's Base Ohakea warmly welcomed the last of the four aircraft, marking its permanent residence. The Poseidon fleet will significantly bolster New Zealand's capacities for peace and security operations, maritime surveillance, resource protection, and disaster and humanitarian response within the country, across the Pacific, and further afield.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force will utilize the four P-8A Poseidons for a variety of missions, including aerial surveillance of New Zealand's areas of interest, such as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the South Pacific, and the Southern Ocean, including the Ross Dependency and Antarctica.

Numerous government agencies, including the Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Customs, New Zealand Police, and the Department of Conservation, will benefit from the Poseidons' support.

Technical data

Its wingspan measures 123.6 feet (37.64 meters), and the length of its fuselage is 129.5 feet (39.47 meters). The aircraft's height is marked at 42.1 feet (12.83 meters).

Powering the Poseidon are two CFM56-7B engines, each generating a thrust of 27,300 lbs. These engines enable the aircraft to reach a speed of 490 knots, equivalent to approximately 902 kilometers per hour.

In terms of range, the P-8A Poseidon has the capacity to cover 1,200 nautical miles, maintaining its position on station for up to four hours. It's also capable of high altitude operation, with a ceiling of 41,000 feet (12,496 meters), which is advantageous for surveillance and reconnaissance tasks.

As for crew capacity, the P-8A Poseidon can accommodate up to nine crew members, facilitating operations that require a larger team.