New Zealand Defence Force to retire P-3K2 Orion fleet

 The New Zealand Defence Force would be retiring five P-3K2 Orion aircraft after 54-year run, and five months earlier than planned.

The reason cited is because of staff shortages, thereby leaving it with few planes for search, rescue and surveillance operations until at least July.

The final flight ceremony will take place on June 30, symbolizing the retirement for the aircraft that has been operating for decades.

The Orion aircraft are being replaced by new Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, with the first arriving in New Zealand on Tuesday, the remainder to be delivered by mid-2023. 

About Lockheed P-3K2 Orion

The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engined, turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s.

Lockheed based it on the L-188 Electra commercial airliner; it is easily distinguished from the Electra by its distinctive tail stinger or “MAD” boom, used for the magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) of submarines.