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Boeing wins New Zealand air force surveillance contract

Staff Writer |
The New Zealand government said it had awarded a major air force upgrade contract to U.S. aviation giant Boeing.

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The contract to upgrade the underwater, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities on the New Zealand air force's six Orion aircraft was worth 36 million NZ dollars ($26.28 million), said Defense Minister Gerry Brownlee.

An underwater surveillance capability deterred interference with the sea lines of communication that New Zealand and many of its friends relied on for trade purposes, Brownlee said in a statement.

"Knowing what is happening underwater is integral to monitoring submarine activity," Brownlee said.

"This is particularly important in the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to two-thirds of the world's submarines."

New Zealand businesses would also be involved in supporting the upgrade, taking around 25 percent of the value of the contract.

The 2016 Defense White Paper, released in June, had confirmed the importance of the New Zealand Defense Force having capabilities to cope with the realities of a complex and changing strategic environment, and to enable it to operate across a broad spectrum of geographic and operating environments, he said.

Work was already underway to select a replacement for the Orion aircraft, which was due to retire from service in the mid-2020s.

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