Double the Capability as second Air Force Boeing returns

The second of the RNZAF's upgraded Boeing 757 aircraft, NZ7572 lands at Air Force Base Whenuapai.
The second of the RNZAF's upgraded Boeing 757 aircraft, NZ7572 lands at Air Force Base Whenuapai. (AK 09-0060-002)

12 February 2009

The second of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Boeing 757 aircraft has returned to New Zealand from Mobile Aerospace Engineering, Alabama after a significant airframe and avionics upgrade.

The modifications that have greatly improved the B757’s capabilities include:

  • Updated military and civil communication and navigation systems
  • The installation of a main deck cargo door
  • Strengthened floors
  • New cargo handling system
  • The ability to carry a mixed payload of cargo and passengers on the same deck greatly enhances the deployability of the NZDF.

“The return of both of the Air Force’s Boeing 757s is a reward to all those who have worked so hard on this project,” said Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Graham Lintott.

“The modification is the latest step in improved air support capability for New Zealand. The increased versatility of the Boeing 757 will see the aircraft able to support a wide range of tasks around the world.”

The upgrade of the 757 is part of a modernisation programme that will see the introduction into service of more than thirty new or significantly upgraded aircraft across six different fleets of the RNZAF.


For further information please contact Anna Sussmilch, Defence Communications Group on 04 496 0286 or 021 676 338.

Background Notes

The modifications of the B757s were completed by Singapore Technologies, Mobile Aerospace Engineering (based in Mobile, Alabama, USA) and Boeing Integrated Defence Systems (based in Wichita, Kansas, USA).

The total cost of acquisition and modifications of both aircraft was $220 million.

The first upgraded aircraft (NZ7571) arrived back in New Zealand in August 2008, where it commenced its introduction into service and operational evaluation by the RNZAF, before returning to the USA for final upgrade work on its communication system.

This significantly reduced the overall downtime this aircraft experienced, and subsequently meant it was available for use at the earliest available opportunity.

The second aircraft (NZ7572) has had the complex communications changes completed prior to leaving the USA, but will still need to complete its introduction into service by the RNZAF in New Zealand.

This page was last reviewed on 14 October 2010.