The flight deck of an upgraded P-3K Orion [20110502_PH_V1020230_0006.jpg]
02 May 2011
The Royal New Zealand Air Force today accepted the first upgraded P-3K2 Orion from the Ministry of Defence during a short ceremony at Air Force Base Whenuapai.
Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Peter Stockwell said the upgraded aircraft represents a significant advance in technology and will introduce a fundamental change to the capability of No. 5 Squadron as they transition from their traditional role as a Maritime Patrol Force to an Airborne Surveillance and Response Force.
“The return of the P-3K2 Orion is an important milestone for the RNZAF. The upgraded P-3K2 will transform the fleet, improving the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability in support of government agencies such as Fisheries and Customs, and government directed military operations.
“The upgrade will enhance the aircraft’s existing capability across its range of missions including; long range maritime surveillance, search and rescue, effective monitoring of our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and supporting our South Pacific and Asia Pacific relationships,” said AVM Stockwell.
The P-3K2 Orion project includes upgrades to the aircraft’s communication, navigation, surveillance and data management systems; a state-of-the-art glass flight deck and mission preparation and analysis systems. Also included in the upgrade are crew training and software testing and integration tools.
The aircraft will now undergo a period of Operational Testing and Evaluation (OT&E), which will enable the crews to develop the procedures to optimise safe and effective use of the new systems to maximise the capability of the transformed aircraft.