The US Navy's Patrol Squadron 10 (VP-10) ‘Red Lancers’ spent the latter part of October at Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Base Ohakea displaying the capabilities of the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to the RNZAF with a single aircraft and nine crew and maintenance staff.
Dubbed Operation Kuru Kuru, the unit conducted operations in the exclusive economic zones of New Zealand and Fiji between October 19-27.
RNZAF personnel were able to witness the P-8A conduct normal surveillance mission operations with the aircraft's onboard WESCAM MX-20 electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) imaging system, as well as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training. The deployment allowed RNZAF crews to familiarise themselves with the Poseidon before the air arm receives its own examples of the type.
New Zealand is scheduled to take delivery of four new Poseidons across late December this year and throughout 2023. In RNZAF service, the Poseidon will replace the air arm's current fleet of five Lockheed P-3K2 Orions by 2025. New Zealand did operate six P-3K2s until the first was withdrawn from service on September 24, 2021.