Dingbatt: 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.
Who said it was pointless to have a weapons bay? Pretty sure loading a life raft into one doesn't require distance from houses which is the reason in the press release for moving the base...