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NZDF - Now and the Future.

This is a discussion on NZDF - Now and the Future. within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; While there are separate threads regarding the Army, RNZAF and RNZN, I would like to have a general discussion thread ...


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Old April 25th, 2006   #1
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NZDF - Now and the Future.

While there are separate threads regarding the Army, RNZAF and RNZN, I would like to have a general discussion thread regarding the NZDF.

I would like to focus on the current strength, budget and organisation of the NZDF and move towards a REALISTIC AND ATTANABLE strength, budget and organisation. I do not want this to turn into a ‘goodie bag’ of what the NZDF should have, but rather what it needs to accomplish the mission, and able to afford, crew/man and support. Remember an infantry battalion needs support forces to deploy it. An air strike force must be affordable, operationally effective to NZ needs and have the numbers to be effectively deployed.

Please keep politics to a minimum, happy to discuss party policy in regards to an idea, but no slamming parties or persons.

If you are not knowledgeable on the NZDF then I suggest you start here:

http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/at-a-glance/default.htm

Finally no historical ‘what might haves’ or ‘what ifs’ it is not relevant going forward.

All dollar figures should be in NZ$ UNLESS otherwise specified!

Now according the NZDF web site the NZDF has a total regular strength as of Feb 1 2006 of 8,721 that is split between:
  • Army 4,372
  • Air Force 2,354
  • Navy 1,995

In terms of budget I am not an expert but I believe the following to be correct using official reports etc… (I am happy to be corrected on this). Current budget is 0.9% of GDP, which using various news reports of $150 billion GDP, puts the Budget at $1.35 billion. Of which the NZDF pays GST and Capital Charge back to the Govt, which puts the figure closer to $1 billion.

However I believe that the Govt also injects capital to help pay for new equipment, which was $3 billion over 10 years starting from 2001-2002. (I believe that some of this is funded by depreciation on existing equipment?)

Last year the Govt also announced that $4.2 billion over 10 years will be spent to add an extra 2,000 personnel and increase the conditions and operational budget of the NZDF.

New equipment/upgrades that will be delivered within the next 5 years are:
  • NAVY - A Multi-role vessel capable of carrying and deploying across and undefended beach 1 motorised company with equipment. Also to be used for Patrol in the South Pacific and Southern Ocean. 2 x OPVs and 4 x ISPVs.
  • AIRFORCE – 5 x C-130s with upgraded airframes and avionics. 6 x P-3k to have mission systems and avionics upgraded (not to include ASW). New NH90 and LUH helos (numbers and type of LUH yet to be announced).
  • Army – Re-equipped with 105 LAV3s and 321 light operational vehicles. 24 Javelin systems to be delivered next year. Grenade Launchers to also be acquired.

Now things to be considered. Australia is 2000km to the west, Fiji 2000km to the north. NZ’s region is predominantly ocean with lots of small island nations the largest being Fiji with 800,000 citizens. The French have modern forces in the South Pacific and Australia is the major power in the region. Neither of these two nations are a threat to NZ.

NZ relies on trade for its wealth and lifestyle and this is predominantly carried on sea lanes around the world. NZ is a democracy and is closely associated with the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ democracies of US, UK, Canada and Australia. Of these the ties to Australia are the closest.

The NZ public consistently supports a strong NZDF in polls, but there is no debate and spending on big ticket items is not easy. Defence issues are not understood and are often misrepresented by both sides of the divide. Historically NZ is proud of its defence force (although not many know that NZ had the highest per capita deaths in combat of any of the participating nations in WW1 and the twice the per capita deaths of Australia and Canada in WW2) , going forward it would be fair to say that a large proportion has no knowledge and really does not care (health, social welfare, education are higher priorities).

The operational tempo of the NZDF has been higher in the last decade than any time since Vietnam. In fact the deployment to East Timor in ’99 was the highest number of deployed personnel since the Second World War.

This operational tempo has taken place in an era of declining budget and has taken a toll (similar to the Canadian Defence Force at present).

Remember make sure your suggestions and ideas are affordable, can be manned/crewed, and fit in with NZ’s interests! Justify them!
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Old April 26th, 2006   #2
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Interesting thread.

Given NZ's historic role of joining "foreign" military operations, I can think of several useful enhancements to the NZDF, that would hardly "break the bank" and yet provide useful options for deployment.

My first idea would be to equip the RNZAF B-757's with hose and drogue A2A refuelling pods. These do not require significant modification to the aircraft (unlike "boom" refuellers) and are therefore reasonably affordable. Australia, USMC, USN, British and Canadian aircraft all use drogue refuelling pods and lack refuelling capacity to a lesser or greater degree.

This would be a useful enhancement to NZDF deployment options and one that could greatly assist NZ's allies. It also has the political advantage of being a much sought after "niche" capability, yet one that doesn't have any chance of undertaking direct combat operations, OR require any additional personnel to achieve. Similar A2A refuellers include the RAAF's 707 refueller and the Airbus A310. Both only require a single operator to control A2A refuelling operations, thus minimising personnel requirements.

A project already exists to provide increased fuel capacity for longer range for these aircraft, which is a major part of converting an aircraft to an A2A refueller.

As such the conversion should be relatively affordable.

Another role for the B-757 could be the "comms relay" role. A major problem for modern deployed forces is available bandwidth for long range (HF/Satellite) comms. As a HALE UAV is probably out of reach fo NZ, the B-757's could conceivably partially fill the comms relay role that these platforms will be used (partially) for. Again this should be relatively affordable and would require little additional personnel. The only problem is the limited (2x) fleet would provide intermittent relay capabilities at best.

My final idea, for now, is for slight modification to the NZ light utility helo project. As a replacement is urgently need for it's Souix fleet and funding has been made available, I would advocate a fleet of EC-635's. This is a lightweight twin engined helo used for training and light utility operations and is made by Eurocopter (who also make NZ's selected NH-90).

It is the military version of the EC-135, and is also capable of being equipped to support special forces operations, casevac, or air to air/air to ground fire support and reconnaisance missions.

It has been stated publicly that a "package" has been submitted for the NZ Government's consideration with NH-90 providing the TTH solution for NZ (already confirmed) and Eurocopter providing another un-specified (I believe) solution.

As the selection of the EC-635 is likely anyhow. I would suggest that the package be increased to allow for greater mission utility. A basic package of the extra fuel tank for enhanced range (up to 880k's from 600 odd kay's) plus a sensor package to allow it to conduct air recce ops (the NZ Air Force/Army currently has no aerial recon capability at all besides, P-3K, which is hardly suitable for a battlefield situation) which would give the RNZAF quite a bit more capability and flexibility at little extra expense.


If necessary or desired, further down the track, an armament package could be easily integrated to give the RNZAF a much needed (IMHO) aerial fire support capability. Weapons such as pylon mounted cannon/machine gun pods and FFAR pods can be carried by this helo, as well as more advanced weapons such as A2A missiles and anti-armour weapons. Door mounted machine guns can also be carried.

A quality sensor/weapons package would give this helo a capability much like the "Kiowa Warrior" helo, but with enhanced performance, range and armour protection for the crew. An EWSP kit is available for the helo to allow it to operate in higher threat environments as well if necessary.

Such an acquisition could be managed in stages to spread out the cost. Phase 1: Initial training/LUH capability, Phase 2: Casevac/CSAR/specwarrops support options, phase 3: recce/fire support.

All these capabilities would add greatly to the RNZAF/NZ Army, and would cost relatively little. They benefit from being upgrades/modifications to existing or likely future acquisitions, which should minimise cost, and add little to existing personnel requirements. All 3 are worthy of investigation, IMHO...

What say you all???
 
Old April 26th, 2006   #3
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How many light helo's are to be procured?
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Old April 26th, 2006   #4
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NFI. Hopefully if these additional projects were to go ahead, they could acquire at least 2 Sqn's worth...
 
Old April 26th, 2006   #5
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Originally Posted by Aussie Digger
My final idea, for now, is for slight modification to the NZ light utility helo project. As a replacement is urgently need for it's Souix fleet and funding has been made available, I would advocate a fleet of EC-635's. This is a lightweight twin engined helo used for training and light utility operations and is made by Eurocopter (who also make NZ's selected NH-90).

It is the military version of the EC-135, and is also capable of being equipped to support special forces operations, casevac, or air to air/air to ground fire support and reconnaisance missions.
I completely agree, this would cover alot of problems with the loss of Air combat force, and would provide needed support for Peacekeeper/ War on Terror Ops. In terms of numbers I believe 12 would be sufficent plus 6 for training in civilian mode.

With the coming (2010) need for replacement of NZ Army's artillery systems, I believe a purchase of 12-18 Mobile Gun System, based on the Stryker design, the same type as the LAV III, as well as a puchase of 12 Light 155mms, this would provide the NZ Army with a credible Artillery force. The Mobile reason for the MGS is it provides the Deployed force with rapid fire support with a system that is nearly identical with the LAV III, I understand that the Infantry Batts are Motorised, however this would provide a good multi range of cover, while not exhausting the limited supply of Javelins. The MGS would be placed in the QA Mounted Rifles, and would be avalible to either deployed force.

According to GlobalSecurity.org Ten MGS were puchased for US $48, so if they have a have a US tag of $4.8 mil each that would provide 12 for NZ$90 million, probably a little hard to sell but I think important for a well rounded force. I have always thought the MGS would be ideal, once I heard the NZ Army was recieveing LAV III so I would love some feedback on it.

Its been said on the other threads, so I will say it quickly ANZAC upgrade of extra VLS, Harp II, and if possibly SEA Ram, but I would be happy with the first two, of course ESSM for the VLS.

There has been talk of a short range maritime patrol aircraft, well I think NZ needs to get on the UAV train and purchase 4-6 for this role, also for use on deployment. I dont know much about these systems but Predator would more than suffice if this is to pricey then perhaps the Hunter RAQ 5. This would again provide a excellent deployable capability, while it should again ltd knowledge be cheaper than getting the King Air planes that are being suggested.

Finally after Protector the RNZN is not getting any "combatants" anytime soon however perhaps in the 2015 time frame a purchase of a third frigate, providing the needed addition to the Surface force, perhaps this could be use the RAN's AWD hull but not the AWD fit out, this Ship would have standard fit out of ESSM, Harp 2, however have a increased ASW ability while due to its size, operating as Flagship, with the room not needed for VLS cells, perhaps transport capability of a reinforced platoon (50-60), with Aviation capability of 2 NH90's plus hangar. I think this type of vessel would be sellable to the NZ public due to its slightly MR yet combat specialised nature. With a price tag of about NZ $500 million, at the time which is about waht a 3rd ANZAC would cost now.

Cheers,
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Last edited by gf0012-aust; April 26th, 2006 at 07:49 AM.
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Old April 26th, 2006   #6
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I completely agree, this would cover alot of problems with the loss of Air combat force, and would provide needed support for Peacekeeper/ War on Terror Ops. In terms of numbers I believe 12 would be sufficent plus 6 for training in civilian mode.
I had a look at the EC635 and agree it would provide a valuable force enhancement for NZ. 12 military models would provide for an operationally deployed sqn in the short term but 18 (ditch the 6 civilian) military models would allow for this, and some attrition.

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With the coming (2010) need for replacement of NZ Army's artillery systems, I believe a purchase of 12-18 Mobile Gun System, based on the Stryker design, the same type as the LAV III, as well as a puchase of 12 Light 155mms, this would provide the NZ Army with a credible Artillery force. The Mobile reason for the MGS is it provides the Deployed force with rapid fire support with a system that is nearly identical with the LAV III, I understand that the Infantry Batts are Motorised, however this would provide a good multi range of cover, while not exhausting the limited supply of Javelins. The MGS would be placed in the QA Mounted Rifles, and would be avalible to either deployed force.
I've seen some photos of the interior of the MGS. I don't think you'd get many NZ soldiers inside, not to mention that buying LAV's is a political football. I beleive NZ should acquire 6 battery's of 105mm (8 guns for 3 regular, 6 for a training battery and 2 x 6 gun batterys for the terroritial's). The Army could not provide a case for 155mm in the 1980's and I doubt they could now, given that the artillery has not deployed as such since Vietnam.

On the army its current structure is dated. Given the size of the Styrker Brigade and the US Army Light UA New Zealand should reorgainise the regulars around a regular force brigade, within the existing manpower and streamline the terrorital into a single terrorital brigade (6 Infantry Battalions to 3 etc). There is a case for a ready reaction company, but reorganisation of the army should take priority. There maybe additonal equipment like Javelin needed but thats at minimal cost.

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Its been said on the other threads, so I will say it quickly ANZAC upgrade of extra VLS, Harp II, and if possibly SEA Ram, but I would be happy with the first two, of course ESSM for the VLS.
I think NZ should go with extra VLS, ESSM, upgraded CIWS, ECM capability and Harpoon. New ASW Torps are needed as a matter of course.

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Finally after Protector the RNZN is not getting any "combatants" anytime soon however perhaps in the 2015 time frame a purchase of a third frigate, providing the needed addition to the Surface force, perhaps this could be use the RAN's AWD hull but not the AWD fit out, this Ship would have standard fit out of ESSM, Harp 2, however have a increased ASW ability while due to its size, operating as Flagship, with the room not needed for VLS cells, perhaps transport capability of a reinforced platoon (50-60), with Aviation capability of 2 NH90's plus hangar. I think this type of vessel would be sellable to the NZ public due to its slightly MR yet combat specialised nature. With a price tag of about NZ $500 million, at the time which is about waht a 3rd ANZAC would cost now.
I agree about not getting additional combat capaibilty any time soon. The key Naval combat capabilities that NZ needs in a new ship are, in addtion to the ANZAC upgrade that need addressed are

1. An NGS capability, as priority, to support low level operations in the South Pacific. With only 2 ANZAC's their is no certianity that they will be avilable due to refit, deployment. It maybe possible to upgrade the OPV's with capability, but with the Helicopter capability the extra top weight may not be possible.
2. Limited Air Defence (Say RAM), for self defence. This would allow for deployment to areas like the Iraq sanctions enforcement.
3. ASW capability for Self Defence - similar in outfit to the ANZAC's (NZ still has the Mk 32 Tubes from the Wellington and Canterbury along with SURBOC outfit so there are some cost savings possible in this area)
4. Full Helicopter capability
5. Limited Sensors (Something like the Floreal or Thetis class)

A modified AWD would be to much at $500million when you could probably pick up a Floreal type vessel (but slightly larger) for $250million max, with all the above limited capabilities. So two vessels that would be similar in outfit to the Leander's
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Old April 27th, 2006   #7
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Some good ideas guys, I agree the EC-635 is the right sort of LUH for NZ. I notice the MOD website now says that the Govt will make a decision on helos in the 2006-2007 financial year so anywhere between a month and a year away! (I wonder if they do not want to tie in with the ADF decision to be announced soon?)

Agree that re-fuelling for the 757s would be a good idea as well.

Looking ahead for the next 5-10 years I think the addition of a precision strike missile for the P-3 is also a good idea. What missile is hard to say, harpoon would give commonality with Australia, but so would the penguin and that could be added to the Seasprites, but the Maverick is also a contender, as it is already in service (although the lease desirable due to range etc..). The Norwegian NSM could also be an outside possibility. An ASW upgrade would also be in order

Given the area of responsibility NZ has I also think that more surveillance capability is needed to keep an eye on things, a UAV like the Mariner concept would IMO be ideal for this. Something that allies would appreciate as a capability that the NZDF could bring to the party. Politically I think this will be more acceptable in the future as pressure on resources becomes greater and the cost effectiveness of UAVs in manpower and fuel becomes more apparent.

Future maritime capability is also a thorny issue, any third combatant will be an orphan. I would like to think the ANZAC upgrade would go ahead as indicated in the LTDP. I would like to see something like a ANZAC version of the USN LCS post 2015, I am not sure how realistic this would be and I feel it may be to expensive ( I am thinking $1.3-$1.6 billion project over 7-8 years, but with crew and engineering efficiencies it would be much cheaper to operate than the current ANZACS).

For the army I would like to see it configured more into an organisation that looks like the Royal Marines. I think the basic equipment is the same as the army has now with the LAV worked in as a Cav type unit within the structure. I feel this would suit the region more and also useful in most other areas where they would be likely to operate.

Will add some more ideas later.
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Old April 27th, 2006   #8
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Folks have said that the Kiwis should have gone with a third Frigate but that it would be too late to buy one now - Any thought on picking up a decommisioned OHP from Australia?
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Old April 27th, 2006   #9
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Folks have said that the Kiwis should have gone with a third Frigate but that it would be too late to buy one now - Any thought on picking up a decommisioned OHP from Australia?
The Kiwi's probably should have bought a 3rd ANZAC frigate when the opportunity was open ( it has definitely closed now) and I doubt they'd want an FFG, given the manning levels (180 compared to about 120 for ANZAC) and the associated Superstructure cracking issues with the "early" FFG's...

Other options DO exist however. Meko 200 frigates are still being built in Germany. This frigate is the basis of the ANZAC frigate so a very similar frigate to the current ANZAC's could be built in Germany.

South Africa currently has a fleet of what it calls "Corvettes" but in reality are Meko 200 vessels of almost similar dimensions and tonnage, being built now. Every warship including Te Mana and Te Kaha is slightly different, so a new Meko 200 frigate wouldn't be so difficult. As long as the basics were the same as the ANZAC's it wouldn't be too bad.

They could dovetail the new frigate in to the planned ANZAC upgrade too They could build the new frigate with the same basic hull, engines etc and fit it out with the sensor/weapons package, that they will fit to the upgraded ANZAC's. If they follow Australia they will fit new radar, IRST and fire control upgrades to the vessel anyway.

Simply incorporate these from scratch on the new build vessel and you've got 3 nearly identical vessels, of relatively high capability and which provide a nice deployable capability...

1x single Meko 200, wouldn't cost much more than $500m I'd imagine, particularly if they can negotiate they way into any existing builds of similar vessels.
 
Old April 27th, 2006   #10
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The Kiwi's probably should have bought a 3rd ANZAC frigate when the opportunity was open ( it has definitely closed now) and I doubt they'd want an FFG, given the manning levels (180 compared to about 120 for ANZAC) and the associated Superstructure cracking issues with the "early" FFG's...

Other options DO exist however. Meko 200 frigates are still being built in Germany. This frigate is the basis of the ANZAC frigate so a very similar frigate to the current ANZAC's could be built in Germany.

South Africa currently has a fleet of what it calls "Corvettes" but in reality are Meko 200 vessels of almost similar dimensions and tonnage, being built now. Every warship including Te Mana and Te Kaha is slightly different, so a new Meko 200 frigate wouldn't be so difficult. As long as the basics were the same as the ANZAC's it wouldn't be too bad.

They could dovetail the new frigate in to the planned ANZAC upgrade too They could build the new frigate with the same basic hull, engines etc and fit it out with the sensor/weapons package, that they will fit to the upgraded ANZAC's. If they follow Australia they will fit new radar, IRST and fire control upgrades to the vessel anyway.

Simply incorporate these from scratch on the new build vessel and you've got 3 nearly identical vessels, of relatively high capability and which provide a nice deployable capability...

1x single Meko 200, wouldn't cost much more than $500m I'd imagine, particularly if they can negotiate they way into any existing builds of similar vessels.
I agree AD, have the hull built in Europe and then sail it to Australia to have systems fitted. With three ANZACs, 1 MRV and 2 OPVs the RNZN will well set up to achieve its aim of being the best small navy in the world. One more ship I would add is a new replenishment ship, such as the Aegir design. Something that can cruise at 18 knots and carry more stores.

Cost for these two ships $650 -$700 million spread over 4 years around 2015.
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Old April 30th, 2006   #11
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With respect to the precision standoff missile for the P-3K, my thoughts are that this is a very unlikely project for the RNZAF.

Don't get me wrong, I think it would be a VERY good idea, particularly if a "long" ranged standoff weapon could be acquired, such as SLAM-ER or JASSM or even Block 4 Exocet or NSM could be acquired, I just think such a missile would be too "offensive" (in both senses of the word) for the NZ Government.

It would go a long way to ensuring RNZAF can exercise control over the only real area of NZ territory that they could find difficult to control, the territorial waters of NZ and add some much needed strike capability into the NZ order of battle.

An appropriate missile such as SLAM-ER or JASSM, would provide excellent maritime strike capability as well as a land strike capability and could be of great value to the NZDF.

OTOH, a secondary weapon system could be needed, given the VERY long range capability of these other weapons and their somewhat lack of suitability for shorter range missions, say in littoral warfare operations.

Under these circumstances Maverick or similar would be more appropriate. I've long advocated that Hellfire should be integrated on Australian AP-3C Orions (as Army has it in-service for Tiger and it's been proposed for Navy's Seahawk's) in order to conduct "time sensitive targetting" missions. Recent upgrades have given Australia's AP-3C's significant "over land" surveillance capability and NZ's are no different. If they are conducting surveillance missions anyway why not take a shot then and there if necessary, rather creating a delay and calling in strike assets? It's much the same idea as arming Predator UAV's, IMHO.

A shorter ranged and much cheaper missile would give good capability for lower priority targets or "anti-piracy/terrorism" missions, where it would be ridiculous to use a JASSM or similar against a small wooden boat, that may nonetheless operate a 20mm cannon or similar, capable of shooting down your Orion...

My preferrences therefore would be: purchase of JASSM, dovetailed into Australia's purchase to help defray some of the cost, due to the larger order. A significant warstock of weapons could be obained for US$70-100 million. Australia is buying more (at least 300-400 weapons to start with) but we are using it to replace the long range capability of the F-111, not just a maritime/land attack weapon.

In addition I would integrate Maverick, as it's in-service with the SH-SG Super Seasprites already, for missions that require something, but less than a 400k ranged missile... An additional purchase for warstock may be necessary. US$25-40 million should provide for plenty. IMHO, US$100-140m could therefore provide significant combat capability to the RNZAF for it's existing assets, which is completely lacking at present.

Added to the EC-635 combat helo (APKWS 11 rockets, cannon and sensors) I mentioned before, would go a long way to putting the "force" back into the RNZAF, for relatively little money...
 
Old April 30th, 2006   #12
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With respect to the precision standoff missile for the P-3K, my thoughts are that this is a very unlikely project for the RNZAF.
<...snip>

I just think such a missile would be too "offensive" (in both senses of the word) for the NZ Government.
Couple of points:

1. Anti-ship missiles for the Orions are already in the long term development plan (and put there buy the current government).

2. The Orion fleet is currently undergoing a comprehensive missions systems upgrade. This project almost certainly includes the necessary databuses for any of the current stand-off systems.

3. Once the Orion fleet has completed the mission systems upgrade, adding a stand-off system would be a fairly low-cost upgrade and politically non-contentious by anyone that matters.

I would also add that IMHO it is more likley the stand-off system will be an imaging one - it would be more usable in congested waterways and complement the Orion's ISAR radar better.
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Old April 30th, 2006   #13
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Couple of points:

1. Anti-ship missiles for the Orions are already in the long term development plan (and put there buy the current government).

2. The Orion fleet is currently undergoing a comprehensive missions systems upgrade. This project almost certainly includes the necessary databuses for any of the current stand-off systems.

3. Once the Orion fleet has completed the mission systems upgrade, adding a stand-off system would be a fairly low-cost upgrade and politically non-contentious by anyone that matters.

I would also add that IMHO it is more likley the stand-off system will be an imaging one - it would be more usable in congested waterways and complement the Orion's ISAR radar better.
Yes it is in the LTDP, but is is specifically listed as anti-ship missiles, and the cost is between $20-25 mil. It is also listed as no 3 of 4 under Projects needed to avoud the RISK of policy failure, and is therefore at the lower end of priorities.

So if the project goes ahead I am not hopeful (given the language and costs) that the type and utility of the missile will be as capable as it could be.
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It is also listed as no 3 of 4 under Projects needed to avoud the RISK of policy failure, and is therefore at the lower end of priorities.
Your logic is flawed. It is listed under "Projects necessary to avoid significant risks to policy." This is distinct from "Projects that have benefit but are less critical to achieving policy objectives." Effectivley it is something of a medium priority, no less.
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Old April 30th, 2006   #15
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It is also only "listed" at this stage. The F-16 was "listed" too. I would not hold my breath over any "offensive" capability with this current NZ Government.

Though the P-3K IS getting a comprehensive upgrade, it is ONLY getting a surface surveillance upgrade. It's ASW capability is NOT being upgraded, nor is there any proposal to perform an EWSP upgrade, or addition to the capability.

At NZ$20-25m, they won't be buying much of a capability. It's more than likely NOT going to be Harpoon at that price, let alone SLAM-ER or anything else more capable...
 
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