Boeing has secured a $36 million contract to update the underwater intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technology on the New Zealand air force’s six P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft.
Gerry Brownlee, New Zealand’s defense minister, has said he believes that underwater ISR technology will help deter interference with sea lines of communication that the country and its allies use for trade purposes, the New Zealand government said Wednesday.
Brownlee added domestic companies Safe Air, Beca and Marops will support Boeing on the aircraft technology modernization effort.
New Zealand’s air force has also begun to explore a potential replacement for its Orion aircraft, which the service branch plans to retire in the mid-2020s, under the Defense on the Future Air Surveillance Capability initiative.
The P-3K2 is designed to perform airborne surveillance missions over New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone, the Pacific region and the Southern Ocean as well as support search-and-rescue, humanitarian relief and disaster response operations of the country.