How would you re-equip New Zealand ?

Ad: This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules


Airman 1st Class
Oct 25, 2006
Wellington, New Zealand
New Zealand's Left wing government some years ago disbanded it's ageing Skyhawk strike wing and Aermacchi advanced trainers. Much of the fleet is ageing. It now consists of light trainers, UH-1B/UH-1D helocopters (being replaced by NH.90s), P-3K Orions and very old C-130H (incapable of airlifting our Grizzley wheeled APCs any distance)

As a nation we have a very limited budget. We have geographic isolation, must support Antarctic bases, patrol large areas of the Pacific. In terms of fighter equipment there are large over water distance to be flown which may call for twin engines for safety.

Fighters must have air to air refueling, but we cannot afford dedicated flying boom tankers so hose n drogue tanker systems are best suited for NZ.

There will be a change of government at the next elections according to the polls and likely that new Government will seek to re-equip. A finacial package from a given manufacturer or ally would be a bigt inducement.

Training in Australia under contract is an option given close relations between the two countries is an option. Interoperability with Australian forces is an important consideration.

Australia has placed orders for the F-35. Australia already has C-130J which it finds unsuitable. It has gone for C-17 Globemasters which are possibly too expensive for us. There was talk of Australia buying the Airbus A400M. Australia currently has australian manufactured F/A-18s which might become available as hand-me-downs. RAAF Hornets have not suffered the stresses of carrier landings so might have some useful life left.

Comon guys... Be creative and realistic too

Now given all this what would you recommend for:

(1) Airlift
(2) Advanced Training
(3) Strike/Interdiction

Given say a budget of US$400m annually form which to lease or purchase aircraft.
BAe Hawk 100 or variant with air-air refuelling is an idea, and gives cross-compatibility with the RAAF, so you could probably even pool servicing and maintenance facilities. It can cover most jobs from LIFT to ground attack and local air defence.

If you push the Aussies aside for a moment, the Gripen could be good. Admittedly, it has only one engine, but reliability is high. Buying Aussie FA-18s may be an idea, but if the RAAF is no longer using them, then you lose the compatibility, which you aren't going to get anyway if they are using F-35s.

Second hand Harriers might be useful...
You don't mention a timeframe, so here goes.

BAE Hawk 200
F-18E/F with AESA
C130J for both air refueling, logistical support and tactical support
Predator/Reaper UAS

Hawk provides a more than decent air-to-air and close support capability and is compatible with most leading edge armaments. AMRAAM, Sidewinder and 30mm gun pod allow for quite a bit of versatility.

F/A-18E/F allows for an airframe for air superiority, jamming and interdiction missions. Compatible with GPS and laser guided weapons and cruise missiles. Air-to-air refueling capability. AESA radar for near term cruise missile look-down, shoot-down capability. Good range for geographic projection. Compatible with RAAF. AESA radar allows for future expansion of communication capability, real-time data exchange between manned aircraft and UAS in integrated missions, as well as offensive HPM weapon effects. JASSM ER or Taurus cruise missile allows for longrange strike against land and sea targets, stealth capability, and deep penetration for hardened targets.

C130J allows for significant upgrade in carrying capacity. Can afford more 130Js than C17 and A400M. Better suited for in country logistics in alignment with realistic NZ power projection models (ie rely upon RAAF, UK, US for large out of country air mobility).

Predator/Reaper UAS allows for initial sustained reconnaisance and maritime patrol. Reaper upgrade allows for weapon carriage for air-to-sea engagement. Globalhawk too expensive and is in use by major ally RAAF.

This is not a single procurement, but one over a protracted period of time. Airframes maintenance and logistic lines are established and stable. C130J procurement likely at a reduced rate to keep the line open. Extended procurement allows NZ to take advantage of AESA and Reaper development.
i can't see what need a country like NZ would have for UAVs, nor that they'd be able to afford them!
Lots of maritime patrol. Lots of coastal waters. Predators not that expensive. Cheaper than F-18 and Hawk. Australia is looking at Globalhawk. Remember that UAS are not necessarily offensive in mission.
The hawk is definitely a great plane - hats off to the brits for that one. Navy adopted them as the T-45 Goshawk several years back - they have extremely low operating costs, are are rugged, and like you stated would be capable for a CAS role, as well as Air-Air.
Well here are a few suggestions that I think would not be too bad on a limited budget.

Replace the fighter squadrons with F-16s. Sure they are an older design but they are still being built. They are relatively inexpensive, have good performance and can double as a very capable strike fighter and ground attack aircraft.

If not the F-16 go with the Grippen which is just as good as the F-16 (maybe a bit better) and also in expensive.

To replace the UH-1B/UH-1D either do one of two things. 1st Modernize the fleet by upgrading the Hueys to the new UH-1Z varient. It has much better performance and better lift capability. The USMC is doing so and they are proving to be great aircraft and gives the Huey new life at a very cheap cost.

Once you have done so, buy the UH-60L/M Blackhawk. Very good Aircraft and not very expensive. (I am not advertising this because it is the aircraft that I flew the last 6 years, but rather because it really is the best aircraft of its class).

Replace the C-130H with better versions of the C-130. There are many many versions out there that perform better and you can probably upgrade what you have.

For the refueler problem, I am sure that you Kiwis have some Boeing 707s somewhere over there or even a 767 as a matter of fact. Give a contract to Boeing to turn them into KC-135 refuelers or something like it.
The Huey is a time tested and proven design. We still fly old UH-1N, and their biggest drawback is they're underpowered. The new UH-1Y (the Cobra one will be the AH-1Z... but it's just a model designation and unimportant) will rectify this with more powerful turbines and a 4 bladed rotor, along with an increase in range. We also use hueys as mobile command platforms, with ground commanders inside - they have increased avionics and comm equipment - a definite advantage for infantry commanders. That and they still have the GAUs, 240, and can carry 2.75" rockets.
not cheap but what about a Merlin fleet? not only for maritime patrol but they're useful in the transport role too, very advanced electronics............
Eight NH-90s are ordered to replace the Hueys.

2 x 757-200s are already operational for long haul with 40 Sqn.

There was a planned upgrade for the P3 orion for avionics and equipmenet combining American British and Israeli equipment that would have made it start of the art.

This was scotched by the present Govt in 1991.

I know one of the team that was running the proposal (ex RAf Shackelton, and Vulcan Pilot, retired as Wing Commander), very entertaining chap to have a beer with.

Bring that back online along with the airframe upgrade and Maritime patrol is solved for the next 15 years and cost effective.

As for a mix of fighters, I don't think it is necessary to go beyond one multi purpose air frame. F-16 or F-18 training can be accomplished via agreement with RAAF, gaining the added advantage of commonality of methods in given tactical environments.

Utilising the f-18 would mean an agreement between Aussi and NZ would see trained staff maintaining these airframes until we come back up to speed. Same as NZ running the Aussi A-4's out of their bases for so many years.

The only other option could be a mutual plan using something like the Harrier, for ground support, maritime strike functions and have the Aussies provide air superiority and other mission roles.
The Huey is a time tested and proven design. We still fly old UH-1N, and their biggest drawback is they're underpowered. The new UH-1Y (the Cobra one will be the AH-1Z....

Oops that is what I meant. Y not Z. I love the fricken Huey. That is what I wanted to get into when I first joined the Army. They would not let me go Hueys though and made me go Blackhawks.

Now even the Army is probably some UH-1Y's for its light utilty contract that is coming up.

Below is the UH-1Y.


  • uh-1y.JPG
    50.1 KB · Views: 193
What we will probably get....


  • buff.jpg
    30.5 KB · Views: 169
K9, if you do get them, you'll be overwhelmed with applications to join! :lol:

Users who are viewing this thread