New Zealand will soon significantly enhance its maritime surveillance capabilities with the approval by the United States for its request to acquire four Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) under a potential $1.4 billion contract.
These aircraft are expected to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s six ageing Lockheed Martin P-3K Orion MPAs. The New Zealand ministry of defence suggests the planned P-8A acquisition is not yet a firm commitment, however it has slated replacing the P-3K by 2019. A formal decision regarding the acquisition is anticipated before the end of this year. Should the acquisition take place, New Zealand will join a list of P-8A customers which already includes the Royal Australian Navy, US Navy, the Indian Navy, the Luftforsvaret (Royal Norwegian Air Force) and the Royal Air Force.
Moreover, during a visit by US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia on 20th May, a raft of materiel purchases were announced by the Kingdom, with Boeing announcing in a press release on 21st May that an unspecified number of P-8A aircraft would be acquired by Riyadh.