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Future air surveillance capability

Ensures that the Defence Force maintains a continuous, capable and relevant air surveillance capability.

Government approval

The New Zealand Defence White Paper 2016 has confirmed the importance of maintaining an air surveillance and response capability for New Zealand’s immediate region and further afield.

Against this background, the Future Air Surveillance Capability project will ensure that the Defence Force maintains a continuous, capable, and relevant air surveillance capability beyond the retirement of the current P-3K2 aircraft.

It will ensure New Zealand’s future air surveillance capability is flexible, achievable, economical, robust and capable of supporting military operations, either alone or with partners, and other New Zealand government airborne surveillance requirements.

The scope of the project includes:

  • replacement of the current fixed wing Air Surveillance and Response Force capability, founded on six P-3K2 Orion aircraft, by mid 2025 with no less than an equivalent level of capability matched to current and future needs
  • the personnel, training, infrastructure, requirements managements, concepts, doctrine, support, testing, evaluation and introduction into service of future capabilities.


The Future Air Surveillance Capability project is in preliminary definition phase and has not yet received Government direction regarding contracts for capability acquisition.

The project is, however, asking for information from Industry on available options to address the future air surveillance requirements of Defence and has issued a Request for Information via the New Zealand Government Electronic Tender System (www.gets.govt.nz (external link) ).   This initial approach to Industry will provide information to allow an Indicative Business Case to Government.

Further engagement with Industry in the second quarter of 2018 is anticipated, at which stage the project will be looking for more detailed proposals from Industry for the provision and support of the future air mobility capability.  

The subsequent approach to Industry will provide the basis of a Detailed Business Case to Government through which a preferred option will be considered and determined.  

The approach to Industry will seek proposals for the provision of aircraft and associated equipment and proposals for through life support of the acquired aircraft and systems. This will involve New Zealand Industry to a greater extent than will the provision of the aircraft, which will more directly involve the original equipment manufacturers.

Current status

The Future Air Surveillance Capability project has commenced with capability requirements definition and development of preliminary capability solution options for consideration by Government through an Indicative Business Case.

Contact: Neil Hygate, Programme Director Air
Email: industry@defence.govt.nz