Royal New Zealand Air Force

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
NZDF have issued a RFI for the disposal of the RNZAF P-3K2 Orion aircraft.

"The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will shortly be withdrawing its fleet of six Lockheed P-3K2 Orion aircraft from service.

The NZDF intends to offer five aircraft from the fleet plus support inventory for tender. One air-frame is intended to be retained as an exhibit at the Air Force Museum of NZ.
This Request For Information (RFI) seeks industry feedback on which elements of the P-3K2 fleet and support inventory have market interest for sale. This information will be used to assist configure formal tender document(s) at a later date."​


I assume your PM has sent an invitation to purchase these planes to junior. Surely she knows his love for old and well used military kit.:(
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I assume your PM has sent an invitation to purchase these planes to junior. Surely she knows his love for old and well used military kit.:(
Well don't those to have a thing for each other? Them going to a FVEY nation would be acceptable to the US and the Boeing CMS in the back, based on the P-8A CMS, would most likely be newer than the current RCAF one in their CP-140s.
 

Albedo

Member
Well don't those to have a thing for each other? Them going to a FVEY nation would be acceptable to the US and the Boeing CMS in the back, based on the P-8A CMS, would most likely be newer than the current RCAF one in their CP-140s.

I believe the CP-140M use a custom Canadian developed acoustic and mission management system by General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada. It was completely revamped as part of the Block III upgrades and just reached FOC in 2019 and further Block IV upgrades are currently underway. GDMS-C also makes the acoustic and mission management system for the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and I believe there is commonality there to allow for training and operational efficiencies. GDMS-C has also been contracted to upgrade the underwater warfare systems for the Halifax-class frigates which presumably will be designed to integrate well with the CP-140M and CH-148 systems. There were actually complaints in the press recently by GDMS-C that they are being excluded from the CSC project putting at risk all this investment in Canadian underwater systems and commonality. In any case, it would probably be a lot of work to convert RNZAF P-3K2 to Canadian CP-140M standards (beyond the equipment differences have the P-3K2 undergone a structural life extension program?), but perhaps some could be acquired as a parts source if the price is right given the replacement for the CP-140M sadly seems to be a long way off.

The training focused on anti-submarine warfare and Air Crew Flight Commander for 407 Squadron, Major Matthew Kuhn says the Canadian crews did exceptionally well compared to other nations in the friendly competition.

“The dragon belt competition was against an underwater target. We were competing against very modern aircraft from the United States, Australia, India and Japan and we were able to win the competition with the fastest and most accurate attacks, as well as identifying frequencies that were emitted from the underwater target.”

“We were in an aircraft that has very modern mission equipment and sensors on it. We’re comparable from a technological aspect, we’re just flying a 40-year-old aircraft. It’s pretty impressive when we go in there flying against some of the most modern aircraft within the allied forces and we’re able to win the competition.”
As for effectiveness of the CP-140M despite its age, a team from the RCAF 407 squadron flying the CP-140M in January won the Sea Dragon 2021 competition, which involves a series of ASW exercises including against a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, beating P-8 teams from Australia, India, and 2 from the US as well as a Japanese P-1 team. Interestingly, last year the RNZAF with the P-3K2 won Sea Dragon 2020 also beating teams that included P-8 operators. It does make one wonder about the relative effectiveness of upgraded P-3 vs P-8 aircraft and whether the higher altitude operations of the P-8 is negatively impacting performance.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Well don't those to have a thing for each other? Them going to a FVEY nation would be acceptable to the US and the Boeing CMS in the back, based on the P-8A CMS, would most likely be newer than the current RCAF one in their CP-140s.
I think even your PM has determined junior is a pi$$-ant turd after he threw two of his female cabinet ministers under a bus during the SNC Lavalin scandal.
 
Re: super herc purchasing

wouldn't be great if we purchesed this or an equivalnet system, for use here or overseas/Australia
Modular Airborne FireFighting System - Wikipedia
Can only see a system like this being more and more useful in the future,

Does RNZAF currently practice any form of Hercules ground based refulling like this
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DEqCXetV0AE0g-U?format=jpg&name=large
Forward Arming or Area Refulling Point.

RAF is retiring its hercules fleet by 2023 as part of wider cost cutting
RAF C-130 Hercules Fleet To Be Entirely Retired By 2023 - The Aviationist
Originally purchased in the 1990s. Not sure when they were last upgraded.
If systems were compatable with what we are purchasing it might be good to purchase an extra airframe, but I doubt there is the political appetite
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
Re: super herc purchasing

wouldn't be great if we purchesed this or an equivalnet system, for use here or overseas/Australia
Modular Airborne FireFighting System - Wikipedia
Can only see a system like this being more and more useful in the future,

Does RNZAF currently practice any form of Hercules ground based refulling like this
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DEqCXetV0AE0g-U?format=jpg&name=large
Forward Arming or Area Refulling Point.

RAF is retiring its hercules fleet by 2023 as part of wider cost cutting
RAF C-130 Hercules Fleet To Be Entirely Retired By 2023 - The Aviationist
Originally purchased in the 1990s. Not sure when they were last upgraded.
If systems were compatable with what we are purchasing it might be good to purchase an extra airframe, but I doubt there is the political appetite
Sorry don’t agree with using Military assets on the frontline to actually fight the fires in a major emergency like the 2019/20 Bushfires, you are far better off using them in a behind the lines support role, providing quick effective Tpt for the Firies there equipment, resupply etc, set up Kitchens, Supply Areas, accomodation, thats the best thing Defence can do in a Bushfire emergency. Fighting a major Bushfire can be compared to fighting a war, the frontline Soldiers need an effective support structure to be able to do there job.
Australia is steadily building up our fleet of Fire Bombing Aircraft, these are flown by trained personnel who know what they are doing, Military crews whether RAAF or RNZAF are not.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
As for effectiveness of the CP-140M despite its age, a team from the RCAF 407 squadron flying the CP-140M in January won the Sea Dragon 2021 competition, which involves a series of ASW exercises including against a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, beating P-8 teams from Australia, India, and 2 from the US as well as a Japanese P-1 team. Interestingly, last year the RNZAF with the P-3K2 won Sea Dragon 2020 also beating teams that included P-8 operators. It does make one wonder about the relative effectiveness of upgraded P-3 vs P-8 aircraft and whether the higher altitude operations of the P-8 is negatively impacting performance.
I would be hesitant to assess platforms based on a friendly "competition". The competition has run 3 years in a row, first year with RAAF and USN, RAAF won on debut, NZ won last year on debut, and Canada wins this year, on debut. While it might be a genuine competition, it often isn't hard to bias an exercise to a particular strength or just to get a particular outcome.

Particularly with sub exercises. The advantage is so naturally biased to the sub, that it is not helpful running exercises where the sub constantly wins. So all sorts of unlevel playing fields are made. This also improves the capabilities of the subs crews, as they have to work much harder. The aim of these exercises is to improve skills and abilities, not to assess platforms. This includes different start times for the sub and ASW platforms, where the sub isn't allowed to dive until the ASW platforms are already pinging the area, and when it does dive, its at periscope depth for a significant portion of time. Subs are usually restricted in the depth they can dive or the areas they can go.

But yes, sometimes, experienced and polished setups on older platforms can out perform shiney new platforms for the first few years until training, bugs sorted etc. Often the best years of a platforms are not their first years.
 

chis73

Active Member
Agreed Stringray, it never pays to read too much into exercise competitions, without knowing the rules applied.

Just wondering if anyone has seen the article by Brian Oliver in the latest RNZAF Journal (apparently up to Vol 6 now) on the EMAC project and it's history. The article is called "SMRPA, SMRMP, ASCC, EMAC: So What's In A Name?" Link to Journal here. Sad to say that it's taken more than 20 years to achieve effectively nothing in fulfilling this need. Most of the article's arguments have been posted on this forum over the last several years (too few & too specialized P-8s acquired, King Air inadequate as backup - therefore need something in-between to bulk up the numbers), so it's good to see that some inside the RNZAF feel the same way as me.

Personally, I still favour the C295 in the Portuguese VIMAR configuration for EMAC - it is MOTS (no development cost), cheap to run, can reuse sensors from the Orions to lower initial capital cost & spares, has a roll-on roll-off MPA suite to give it multi-role utility (and therefore be military-run). I suggest maybe 4 aircraft, based from Whenuapai (where there is now space). Perhaps reconstitute a old squadron number (No.1?), perhaps to be known as "The Muttonbirds"? All you need to do Mr Henare is order the aircraft - time you pulled finger. Sadly, it seems we have another Defence Minister who is an empty chair at the Cabinet table (based on his first 6 months in office).
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Agreed Stringray, it never pays to read too much into exercise competitions, without knowing the rules applied.

Just wondering if anyone has seen the article by Brian Oliver in the latest RNZAF Journal (apparently up to Vol 6 now) on the EMAC project and it's history. The article is called "SMRPA, SMRMP, ASCC, EMAC: So What's In A Name?" Link to Journal here. Sad to say that it's taken more than 20 years to achieve effectively nothing in fulfilling this need. Most of the article's arguments have been posted on this forum over the last several years (too few & too specialized P-8s acquired, King Air inadequate as backup - therefore need something in-between to bulk up the numbers), so it's good to see that some inside the RNZAF feel the same way as me.

Personally, I still favour the C295 in the Portuguese VIMAR configuration for EMAC - it is MOTS (no development cost), cheap to run, can reuse sensors from the Orions to lower initial capital cost & spares, has a roll-on roll-off MPA suite to give it multi-role utility (and therefore be military-run). I suggest maybe 4 aircraft, based from Whenuapai (where there is now space). Perhaps reconstitute a old squadron number (No.1?), perhaps to be known as "The Muttonbirds"? All you need to do Mr Henare is order the aircraft - time you pulled finger. Sadly, it seems we have another Defence Minister who is an empty chair at the Cabinet table (based on his first 6 months in office).
I believe that the RNZAF Journal Vol 6, No 1 is the first one of this year. There are previous volumes from previous years. IIRC, the intention is to publish 2 issues per year. I agree that the P-8A numbers are to few, but I strongly disagree that it's to specialised. I also disagree about a C295 MPA in any form for reasons that I have reiterated quite often.

NZ does have a rather unique problem due to its geography. Our SAR region and the regions we help with SAR, cover 20% of the Pacific Ocean. That area also happens to be our AOMI (Area Of Maritime Interest). Then we have our SLOC that extend from our AOMI out to Australia North East Asia, South East Asia, and North America.

However we do require a maritime surveillance capability other than the P-8A and it has to be persistent, long ranged and sometimes quite visible. Satellites will cover the persistence aspect, but in the visual wavelength of the EM spectrum are weather dependent. So even though a satellite may pick a surface contact by radar, but identifying the target maybe difficult. The next capability would be a RPAS, which has the range, persistence, and can be visible to the watched if you so desire it. Something like the MQ-9B SeaGuardian would suit. It can also be armed as well. Finally there is the fixed wing option. Setting aside the P-8A, we do require something that does have long range and only requires basic sensors. It's not going to do a Taranto on the PLAN, US 7th Fleet, JMSDF, Russian Pacific Fleet, or any other navy. Ye ancient Fairey Swordfish is more heavily armed than this platform.

The KA350i is quite capable of that role and it does have the legs. Four are definitely not enough, and I would consider 12 fully outfitted for the role as the minimum. That way you can have four doing the training at Ohakea, with the other eight doing EEZ patrols both here and in the Pacific Islands. The PI patrols could be done in conjunction with RNZN IPVs and OPVs in the region. In this case it's about being visible and letting people know that they are being watched and often. The Pacific Island fisheries will be ruthlessly and thoroughly pillaged by the PRC fishing fleet, if they aren't already, and that is what has to be protected, because they are essential to the Islands survival.
 

MrConservative

Super Moderator
Staff member
The Irish Air Corps are ordering two C295MPA Persuaders for €222 million to replace their older two CN-235's.

I consider the EMAC should take the force enabler approach within the context of our MAOT requirements and our current and incoming platforms. There is up to $600m on the table for this project. The complementary Maritime Satellite Surveillance project not withstanding.

The Canadians are going for the Hermes 900 StarLiner a civilian version of Elbit’s medium-altitude long-endurance military UAV's which would make sense for us in that EMAC as a whole of government project is primarily driven by the requirements of our civilian agencies security requirements. That effectively would be the only "new" platform. An ideal entre into the RPAS game this decade before we head into more advanced capabilities post 2030 as per DWP/DCP.


The KA-350ER as the 3rd tier platform has synergies with the Air Crew Training Capability should be kept in the mix as it is already in the inventory and to a certain extent providing a partial solution.

However, I believe the optimal capability deliverance in the EMAC context of the NZDF, to our Indo-Pacific allies, the security needs of the government of NZ and our South Pacific responsibilities, wider output requirements of its agencies, is through the addition of a couple more C-130J's in particular HC-130J Block 8.1 Minotaur configuration which the US Coast Guard are introducing to service. We have already invested the new C-130J platform and its logistical and training footprint. The introduction of any new platform has these substantial costs which are effectively twice the "sticker price" viz Ireland paying a princely €222 million for a couple of Casa's, let alone the usual IOC complexities.

Lastly with the EMAC "family of solutions" their should ideally be complementary ISR capabilities in any future FAMC Strategic solution. This is not a new idea and was prefaced in the FAMC RFI some years ago.
 
There are clear benefits of a C 130J based EMAC platform as you have outlined.
My only concern would be wouldn't in be a lot more expensive to run say contra a King air type platform or Sea Guardian.

My wishlist would be a mix of the above 3:
1-2 more hercules platforms wired for versatility: tac transport, fire support, MPA/ASuW, transport, aerial firefighting and maybe even
Sea guardians for persistance.
And a few extra king airs- which could be periodically based in the PIs.

And an extra P8 would be great too.
 

MrConservative

Super Moderator
Staff member
With EMAC project as per the GETS release to industry there are a couple of significant points which create capability parameters.

1. EMAC has a funding band of $300 - $600m
2. EMAC is not a typical Defence procurement project as the user requirements are driven solely by government agencies other than Defence.
3. EMAC is characterised by its large area, and a diverse range of risks and threats about which the agencies need to maintain awareness across the domain, the final capability is likely to involve a mix of capability elements (platforms) creating a layered solution.

In my view the funding band precludes the MQ-9B Sea Guardian for this particular project due to cost. A comparative deal such as the recent Belgium one would mean $270m approaching half of the maximum of the funding band.


The civilian agency requirements which are driving this translate into what the Canadians are after in their Hermes 900 StarLiner solution, which would on their project acquisition translate on similar platform numbers around half of the Belgium deal. The MQ-9B Sea Guardian is a great platform, albeit expensive, but it is a strong solution for the LRUAV project post 2030 to complement the P-8A fleet and can be more aligned to NZDF defence requirements. The Hermes 900 is often complemented by the smaller 450 which is a low cost enabler which is able to be rapidly deployed (By a HC-130J into the Pacific!!) and the even smaller Hermes 90. A Hermes 900 and a complementary 450 or 90 can perform two concurrent missions from the same GCS using two GDTs.

An USCG style HC-130J will have a higher cpfh than other smaller niche platforms, but this is offset by the sheer breadth of its capability in solving even more range of risks and threats than what EMAC is attempting to solve. Like the KA-350 it will already have an established logistical and training footprint to build from which offsets the higher cpfh.
 
I have just read Brian Olivers article in the RNZAF Journal. A great read.

Gaps in our maritime surveilance and patrol ability were identified in 2001 and repeatidly since then:

It is a matter of public record that there are deficiencies in New Zealand’s maritime domain awareness and, despite the best of intentions over the last 20 years or so, little progress has been made to address this situation.

EMACs predecesor, the SMRMP was recomended but never developed, (potential reasons explained in the article). Hence gaps persisted.
Just like health, housing and infrastructure NZ governments of both sides have failed to invest. I feel NZG spends/enacts policy in response to percieved public response to issues, rather than proactivly, strategicly, reducing and deferring investment when and where it can so long as too many people dont get too upset.

He makes a very good argument that we have needed an EMAC equivalent for about the last 20 years.

Also states "NZDF has only limited experience with UAS and currently has no operational unmanned systems."

Also interesting to note that the Maritime patrol Review 2001 recommended 5 IPVs and 3 OPVs. Another example of NZG not following reccomendadtions of reports that they commission.
 

Gibbo

Active Member
I have just read Brian Olivers article in the RNZAF Journal. A great read.

Gaps in our maritime surveilance and patrol ability were identified in 2001 and repeatidly since then:

It is a matter of public record that there are deficiencies in New Zealand’s maritime domain awareness and, despite the best of intentions over the last 20 years or so, little progress has been made to address this situation.

EMACs predecesor, the SMRMP was recomended but never developed, (potential reasons explained in the article). Hence gaps persisted.
Just like health, housing and infrastructure NZ governments of both sides have failed to invest. I feel NZG spends/enacts policy in response to percieved public response to issues, rather than proactivly, strategicly, reducing and deferring investment when and where it can so long as too many people dont get too upset.

He makes a very good argument that we have needed an EMAC equivalent for about the last 20 years.

Also states "NZDF has only limited experience with UAS and currently has no operational unmanned systems."

Also interesting to note that the Maritime patrol Review 2001 recommended 5 IPVs and 3 OPVs. Another example of NZG not following reccomendadtions of reports that they commission.

Yep nothing new here...and I wouldn't expect things to change much... neither side of the political spectrum has applied huge amounts of 'forward-thinking' to defence in the last 40 years, preferring to deal with things once it became absolute necessity and then in doing so, reducing platform numbers... and in one glaring example removed entire capabilities! Ever wondered by Aussie is starting to treat us with such contempt?!!

As for "NZDF has only limited experience with UAS and currently has no operational unmanned (aerial) systems."... yes that's something that astounds me... NZDF's move to such systems is painfully slow & overly measured given very few defence forces seem to have NOT invested in such systems to date. Only in the last couple if years do we seem to see a commitment to unmanned systems and in all cases they are small, off the shelf systems. Certainly the latest DCP made the right noises but any such systems of significant size & reach seem to still be 5-10 years away...by which time most other defence forces will be moving into their 2nd or even 3rd generation of such platforms. I do wonder if it's purely budget driven or if there's an issue with mindsets from some within NZDF that needs to be challenged!?!
 
Certainly the latest DCP made the right noises but any such systems of significant size & reach seem to still be 5-10 years away...by which time most other defence forces will be moving into their 2nd or even 3rd generation of such platforms. I do wonder if it's purely budget driven or if there's an issue with mindsets from some within NZDF that needs to be challenged!?!
I sometimes feel that in terms of equipment and mindset- we seemed to be (insufficiently) equipped for fighting yesterdays wars.
Not only is the strategic situation in the wider pacific changing but the next war may be largely fought with new technologies. Russian and China are developing/fielding hypersonic missiles. Even with the uprades, our frigates are still not really capable of offensive combat.

Re EMAC:
Leonardo has been marketing a MPA version of the MC27
2018-leonardo-unveils-mpa-variant-of-the-mc-27j-isr
C-27J Next Generation ISR-MPA-ASW

Obviously this is a bit more 'military' than some of the other possible EMAC platforms, but Im in favour of its wider military utility in addition to it contribution to the EMAC requirement. Namely cargo and fire support, and it affords us additional, albeit shorter ranged ASW/ASuw platforms. I prefer it over C 295 because its operated by the RAAF and the USAF and shares the same engine as the C 130 J.
 
ATR 72, C 295 and C27J all come in both coast guard/MPA type which would be suited to the existing EMAC requirement, and also ASuW/ASW capable versions.
Ideally whatever platform we go with should have wider military utility. While EMAC as it stands is for more lower level 'domestic' governnment agency taskins, it will still be an RNZAF asset and should be available if needed for military use. If we go with one of the 3 platform options listed above (and ther are other good platforms indicated by other forum members) they should be at least fitted for but not with the hi spec military ad ons (IE ASW/ASuW, hardpoints, sonobouys, etc). Cargo capability of the 295/C27J will be useful in HADR and domestic military tasking (parachute training) saving on C130 availability/hours.

C295 and C27J are both operated by USCG as MPA.
ATR 72 MP is operated by Itallian AF and Coast Guard.
ATR 72 ASW is operated by Turkey.
 

Gibbo

Active Member
ATR 72, C 295 and C27J all come in both coast guard/MPA type which would be suited to the existing EMAC requirement, and also ASuW/ASW capable versions.
Ideally whatever platform we go with should have wider military utility. While EMAC as it stands is for more lower level 'domestic' governnment agency taskins, it will still be an RNZAF asset and should be available if needed for military use. If we go with one of the 3 platform options listed above (and ther are other good platforms indicated by other forum members) they should be at least fitted for but not with the hi spec military ad ons (IE ASW/ASuW, hardpoints, sonobouys, etc). Cargo capability of the 295/C27J will be useful in HADR and domestic military tasking (parachute training) saving on C130 availability/hours.

C295 and C27J are both operated by USCG as MPA.
ATR 72 MP is operated by Itallian AF and Coast Guard.
ATR 72 ASW is operated by Turkey.
Given the ongoing reluctance to spend any more $$$ on defence than what will get the Govt the bare minimum I hate to say I feel we are barking up the wrong tree with C295, ATR 72, C27 etc... suspect it will be KA350 at best... although more than happy to be proven wrong. Bear in mind the civvy req's are a significant determination of the EMAC capability requirements and the Govt wont purchase something they 'feel' to be over-spec'ed for the task...especially as the latter adds significant cost.

The other thing to bear in mind too is that AFAIK the EMAC project may not necessarily be a NZDF asset...I believe all options are being looked at including 3rd party contractor much like Aussie's CoastWatch fleet contracted to the Aussie Border Force. Whilst I do strongly believe it should be a RNZAF owned & operated platform, it does bug me that a type with more utility would almost certainly end up not focused solely on EMAC taskings and hence EEZ patrol etc continues to slide.
 
The other thing to bear in mind too is that AFAIK the EMAC project may not necessarily be a NZDF asset...I believe all options are being looked at including 3rd party contractor much like Aussie's CoastWatch fleet contracted to the Aussie Border Force.
Settin up a new 3rd party agency may involve a range of unneccesary costs.

Whilst I do strongly believe it should be a RNZAF owned & operated platform, it does bug me that a type with more utility would almost certainly end up not focused solely on EMAC taskings and hence EEZ patrol etc continues to slide.
Good point.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Settin up a new 3rd party agency may involve a range of unneccesary costs.
Which won't come out of Vote: NZDF or Vote: Defence. So it's not our problem and becomes someone else's responsibility. Maybe it will come under the Customs umbrella, I don't care as long as Defence / NZDF aren't paying for it.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
ATR 72, C 295 and C27J all come in both coast guard/MPA type which would be suited to the existing EMAC requirement, and also ASuW/ASW capable versions.
...

C295 and C27J are both operated by USCG as MPA.
ATR 72 MP is operated by Itallian AF and Coast Guard.
ATR 72 ASW is operated by Turkey.
There are some other operators of C295 MPA, e.g. Portugal, & Ireland has ordered it to replace CN235 MPA.
 
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