02 September 2016
Air Force Boeing 757, P3K Orion and C-130 Hercules in formation (photo : RNZAF)
RNZAF air mobility and maritime surveillance acquisition programs progress
The New Zealand Ministry of Defence has released two separate Requests For Information (RFIs) covering the acquisition of a ‘Future Air Mobility Capability’ and a ‘Future Air Surveillance Capability’ to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s C-130H and 757-200 transports and its P-3K2 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, respectively.
The Future Air Mobility Capability (FAMC) RFI seeks to replace the current five C-130Hs and two 757s with a “no less than … equivalent” capability, with the C-130H replacement slated for first delivery by February 2020, initial operational capability (IOC) in February 2021 and full operational capability (FOC) declared “no later than 2024”. The first 757 replacement will be “required” by February 2025 allowing an IOC by February 2026.
The Future Air Surveillance Capability (FASC) RFI, meanwhile, notes that New Zealand: “seeks information on platforms and services that could potentially contribute to solutions for Defence to be able to continue to provide the New Zealand Government with air surveillance operations beyond the withdrawal of the current P-3K2 Orion based capability, planned for the middle of the next decade.”
The FASC operational concept, reads the RFI, “will be largely a continuation of the extant P-3K2 Orion based concept, adapted to exploit any greater platform and capability systems performance of the FASC fleet and support systems.”
It continues: “The capacity of FASC to deliver at least the current rates of effort, between 2,500 to 3,200 hours of airborne operations per year, is expected from the project.”
Six upgraded P-3K2 Orions are currently in RNZAF service.
Both RFIs also seek information on any commonality between the air mobility and air surveillance requirements.
“Information is also sought on solutions that may allow synergies between the Defence Force’s future air mobility capability and its future air surveillance capability,” the FAMC RFI reads.
The closing date for both RFIs is September 30.