New underwater intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability for the Air Force
The Secretary of Defence signed a contract on 23 August 2016 for the upgrade of 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.
The underwater surveillance capability deters interference with the sea lines of communication that New Zealand and many of our friends rely on for trade purposes. Knowing what is happening underwater is integral to monitoring submarine activity. This is particularly important in the Asia-Pacific region which is home to two-thirds of the world’s submarines.
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 that is due to retire from service in the mid-2020s.