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Topic # 238263 9-Jul-2018 20:05
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Decision to buy four of Boeing P8s has been announced. Both the P3 Orions and C-130s are in urgent need of replacement.

 

While their roles are totally different if money is short would 4 brand new C-130 J or the Coastguard HC-130 J, be a better spend for NZ?

 

Maybe 4 C-130 J as they would have more cargo capability than the coastguard version?

 

I say buy the Hercules first as their capability would be used 99% of the time, while the P8 is something like the Skyhawk where its offensive capability was only ever used once - and that was to stop a trawler fishing illegally! And unlike Britain, Australia, and U.S. we don't have many frigates for the P8s to work with.

 

I am not knocking the Boeing P8. Based on the Boeing 737-800 it should have despatch reliabilty of 99.x %, and is highly capable, but is it the best choice for NZ at the moment or would we get more out of buying the brand new Hercules?

 

(The HC-130J is the long-range search and rescue variant of the C-130J flown by the U. S. Coast Guard. The aircraft's mission system includes automatic identification and direction-finding capabilities; long range, multi-mode radar; electro-optical and infraread, or EO/IR, sensor turret that provides both imagery and target data; advanced open architecture mission system processor; and an extensive communications suite. The HC-130J features a 20 percent increase in speed and altitude and a 40 percent increase in range compared to the HC-130H model. )

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2052227 9-Jul-2018 20:13
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The press release:

 

 

New Zealand to buy four P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft

 

The coalition Government has agreed to purchase four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft from the United States Government. 

 

The four aircraft will replace the aging six P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft that have been operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force since the 1960s. The current Orion fleet will reach the end of their expected operational life in 2025.

 

“The purchase ensures the Defence Force can continue to deliver the country’s maritime surveillance, resource protection, humanitarian and disaster response around New Zealand and across the South Pacific,” says Ron Mark.

 

“This decision strengthens the coalition Government’s Pacific Reset by providing a maritime patrol capability with the significant range and endurance needed to assist our partners in the region.

 

“The purchase enables New Zealand to continue to deploy in a wide range of airborne maritime situations independently, and when required, work effectively with partners including Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, which all operate, or will operate, the aircraft,” says Ron Mark.

 

The role of maritime patrol aircraft includes:

 

  • Supporting maritime surveillance, humanitarian aid and disaster response, and resource protection around NZ and in the South Pacific; 
  • Contributing to the international rules based order through participation in global peace and security operations; 
  • Search and rescue in New Zealand’s region, which stretches from the South Pole almost to the Equator and covers 1/11th of the earth’s surface;
  • Environmental and marine resource monitoring.

“One example of the requirement for a fully capable maritime patrol aircraft is simply the number of lives that can be saved,” Mr Mark said. 

 

“In the last seven years of search and rescue operations in our region, Orion maritime patrols have contributed to saving 119 lives.

 

“Other tasks the Orions have undertaken recently have included participation in international operations to counter piracy and illicit smuggling off the Horn of Africa, surveillance of the volcano in Vanuatu, assessing damage from Cyclones Winston and Gita in the Pacific, surveillance of critical infrastructure after the Kaikoura earthquake, and fisheries monitoring.

 

Maintaining a maritime patrol capability is essential for New Zealand’s national security, and for our ability to contribute to global security efforts,” says Ron Mark.

 

The new P-8As, training systems, infrastructure and introduction into service costs will total $2.346 billion. They will be delivered and begin operations from 2023. 

 

The capital cost will be spread over a number of financial years out to 2025/26. This is an investment decision that has fallen on this Government to make, but will be spread over the medium term and will deliver for New Zealand for many decades to come. The P-8A was the most cost-effective maritime patrol aircraft option available.

 

No. 5 Squadron, which currently operates the Orions, will shift from Whenuapai to Ohakea air force base to operate the P-8As. 

 

The Government will also consider options for a complementary maritime surveillance capability during the forthcoming Defence Capability Plan review, due to be completed by the end of 2018.

 

“The complementary capability will consider smaller manned aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) or satellites, for additional maritime surveillance tasks within New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and near region. This will free up the new P-8A fleet to fly more missions, in the South Pacific and further afield,” says Ron Mark.

 





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  Reply # 2052265 9-Jul-2018 20:51
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Expect the A400M replacement for our existing C130s to be announced within the next few months.

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  Reply # 2052321 9-Jul-2018 21:41
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sbiddle: Expect the A400M replacement for our existing C130s to be announced within the next few months.

 

 

 

It's got a lot going for it. Faster than a Herc, greater payload, take-off run is a bit longer though, once you take payload into account. That might limit its usefulness in austere runway environments.





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  Reply # 2052386 10-Jul-2018 08:33
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I can't believe the relocation cost due to the offensive capability which will be so seldom used - wonder if they considered just housing the live weapons away from Whenuapai in a dedicated facility, after all its not like you wouldn't have plenty of notice before deciding to torpedo-up prior to a mission...





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  Reply # 2052394 10-Jul-2018 08:55
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FireEngine:

 

I can't believe the relocation cost due to the offensive capability which will be so seldom used - wonder if they considered just housing the live weapons away from Whenuapai in a dedicated facility, after all its not like you wouldn't have plenty of notice before deciding to torpedo-up prior to a mission...

 

 

 

 

I expect the more important criteria were compatibility with Australia, who also have P8s, and the extended range and higher speed for civilian SAR. IIRC, the Orions could only spend about an hour on site during the MH370 search due to the extreme distance to the search area, but the P8s fared better. It's something like 3 hours vs. 4 hours on station inside combat radius. That also assumes the plane is armed, so you could stay longer on a civilian search.





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  Reply # 2052395 10-Jul-2018 08:59
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Plus if we back down on capability, its unfair on our allies to prop us up. Fair share and all that


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  Reply # 2052398 10-Jul-2018 09:03
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SaltyNZ:

 

FireEngine:

 

I can't believe the relocation cost due to the offensive capability which will be so seldom used - wonder if they considered just housing the live weapons away from Whenuapai in a dedicated facility, after all its not like you wouldn't have plenty of notice before deciding to torpedo-up prior to a mission...

 

 

 

 

I expect the more important criteria were compatibility with Australia, who also have P8s, and the extended range and higher speed for civilian SAR. IIRC, the Orions could only spend about an hour on site during the MH370 search due to the extreme distance to the search area, but the P8s fared better. It's something like 3 hours vs. 4 hours on station inside combat radius. That also assumes the plane is armed, so you could stay longer on a civilian search.

 

 

 

 

Yeah I'm not questioning the P8 decision, but we seem to be spending $1.0B or so to relocate the squadron when a much cheaper dispersed weapons facility would be a more cost-effective solution at near-zero operational hit. 





Regards FireEngine


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  Reply # 2052402 10-Jul-2018 09:18
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FireEngine:

 

Yeah I'm not questioning the P8 decision, but we seem to be spending $1.0B or so to relocate the squadron when a much cheaper dispersed weapons facility would be a more cost-effective solution at near-zero operational hit. 

 

 

It's more than just the weapons storage / loading facility:

 

  • The runway at Whenuapai would need lengthening to allow the P-8s to take off at max take-off weight,
  • Refurbishing the Orion hangars to bring them up to 21st century standards needed for the P-8s is a toss-up compared to demolish & rebuild or build new at Ohakea, and
  • All those pesky Aucklanders who have built or bought houses under the flight-path and near the airfield in the last thirty years are bound to start whinging & bleating like mad if the volume of relatively-quiet turboprop Orion flights goes down and is replaced with noisier jet P-8s. Whenuapai is now in the middle of suburbia, Ohakea is still out in the country

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  Reply # 2052407 10-Jul-2018 09:23
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The media's focus on the sub hunting has been a bit of a beat up.. I would suggest about 1% of the role of 5 Sqn is Sub hunting.

 

These are the direct upgrade to the P3 anyway so makes sense, This was really in the pipeline for the last few years just been rubber stamped yesterday..

 

The move from Whenuapai to Ohakea is a strategic one in terms of services and space offered at Ohakea vs Whenuapai. We wont see Base Akl closing any time soon as there is still a lot going for it, just that consolidation of services is easier when there is less planning rules and whining people that want it shut down.

 

 

 

As for the A400M if we go for this aircraft it will be a political choice not a strategic air lift one as this limits where we can land.. the one thing the RNZAF has always been epic at is landing in areas and supplying services that our allies cannot. So sadly we may loose this capability


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  Reply # 2052422 10-Jul-2018 09:31
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FireEngine:

 

Yeah I'm not questioning the P8 decision, but we seem to be spending $1.0B or so to relocate the squadron when a much cheaper dispersed weapons facility would be a more cost-effective solution at near-zero operational hit. 

 

 

A P8 MTOW takeoff (full fuel load) requires Whenuapai's main runway to be extended between 500-1000 meters, ( most estimated I have seen say 800m)

 

That's a significant capital cost for a single plane type, in an area that the Airforce are (long term wise) intending to retreat from.....

 

Apparently Ohakea need to the lengthened as well, but given this is the favoured long term site , it is easier to justify the capital investment....

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2052477 10-Jul-2018 10:22
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wellygary:

 

A P8 MTOW takeoff (full fuel load) requires Whenuapai's main runway to be extended between 500-1000 meters, ( most estimated I have seen say 800m)That's a significant capital cost for a single plane type, in an area that the Airforce are (long term wise) intending to retreat from.....
Apparently Ohakea need to the lengthened as well, but given this is the favoured long term site , it is easier to justify the capital investment....

 

 

Whenuapai's main runway is 2031 metres , Ohakea's main runway is 2445 metres [source: Wikipedia]

 

According to commentary at https://www.defencetalk.com/military/forums/t/royal-new-zealand-air-force.6601/page-337#post-334068, "the USN recommends 8,000 ft/~2,439 m of runway to operate a P-8A Poseidon at MTOW", so the runway at Ohakea would not need any lengthening, but Whenuapai would need another ~400m


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  Reply # 2052503 10-Jul-2018 10:52
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PolicyGuy:

 

wellygary:

 

A P8 MTOW takeoff (full fuel load) requires Whenuapai's main runway to be extended between 500-1000 meters, ( most estimated I have seen say 800m)That's a significant capital cost for a single plane type, in an area that the Airforce are (long term wise) intending to retreat from.....
Apparently Ohakea need to the lengthened as well, but given this is the favoured long term site , it is easier to justify the capital investment....

 

 

Whenuapai's main runway is 2031 metres , Ohakea's main runway is 2445 metres [source: Wikipedia]

 

According to commentary at https://www.defencetalk.com/military/forums/t/royal-new-zealand-air-force.6601/page-337#post-334068, "the USN recommends 8,000 ft/~2,439 m of runway to operate a P-8A Poseidon at MTOW", so the runway at Ohakea would not need any lengthening, but Whenuapai would need another ~400m

 

 

 27 at Ohakea is 2445, but 09  is only 2288, due to a displaced threshold,

 

http://www.aip.net.nz/pdf/NZOH_52.1_52.2.pdf

 

so it would need to be lengthened, and there would probably need to be some taxiway strengthening....




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  Reply # 2052534 10-Jul-2018 11:41
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Only 4 planes, any reason why they could not be based at Auckland International. Second runway coming soon. Mini RNZAF base at the airport? Woodbourne has been a shared facility for decades.


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  Reply # 2052571 10-Jul-2018 12:12
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amiga500:

 

Only 4 planes, any reason why they could not be based at Auckland International. Second runway coming soon. Mini RNZAF base at the airport? Woodbourne has been a shared facility for decades.

 

 

The annual reviews of ground rent from AIAL would likely be classified by the RNZAF accounts section as enemy action :)

 

Woodbourne is owned by NZDF so letting commercial operators (and charging them rent) is a nice quid pro quo for them,

 

 


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  Reply # 2052582 10-Jul-2018 12:24
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The Ohakea 'Super Base' has been on the books for twenty years. Considering the entire Air Force now has less personnel than used to be in Auckland alone, you may as well put all your eggs in one basket and just have one operational base. The arguments in the past about basing maritime patrol aircraft as far north as practical to put them closer to their operational area is obviously outweighed by being able to lift a full load of fuel in the first place.
It never ceases to amaze me that people can read a set of specifications off the internet and then think they know better than people who have full knowledge of current and future roles, whose job it is to assess all the options and determine what is the best way forward. The fact they are only buying 4 aircraft to replace 6 indicates that dispatch reliability is expected to drastically improve. But also in the press release is that these aircraft will be supplimented by inshore patrol aircraft, drones and satellites.

Those who think it's pointless to have an aircraft with a weapons bay might be interested to know that every time a P3 launches on a SAR mission it has a liferaft in the bomb bay.

Why was Russell "Give My Flag Back!" Norman invited onto TV to comment on the P8 decision?




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