Local companies to partner Boeing in Orion upgrade

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New Zealand defence industry suppliers will support international contractor Boeing to upgrade systems on the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s six Orion aircraft. Beca, Marops and Safe Air will support the upgraded Underwater, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability through its lifetime, with contracts worth $9 million.

The Chair of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) Bernie Diver says the partnership is a win for all involved.

“By appointing New Zealand companies to support international contractors, the Government has achieved value for money and created sound partner relationships. It’s also generated additional revenue for New Zealand defence suppliers, which secures jobs and is a boost for the regional economies.”

Mr Diver says NZDIA has been working with both the Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force to support this partnership approach.

“In doing so, we’ve been able to increase the contribution the defence industry makes back to our economy. These contracts are in addition to the existing $125 million in wages paid to around 2500 people employed in the defence sector.”

The $36 million Orion aircraft upgrade improves on their current underwater surveillance ability, and is important to New Zealand and its trading partners because the ability to detect and monitor submarines protects New Zealand’s maritime economic zone.

The contracts were announced yesterday by Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee, and are the most recent investment signalled in the 2016 Defence White paper. The paper outlined the Government’s plans to upgrade the capability of the New Zealand Defence Force to enable future operations.

Earlier this month a spend of $1.7 billion was confirmed to upgrade Defence buildings, infrastructure and facilities across New Zealand over the next 15 years. NZDIA is now working with members and the construction industry to support bids for the work.

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