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Defence acquisitions keep rolling on

Defence acquisitions keep rolling on

Defence Minister Mark Burton is today officially accepting the New Zealand Army’s fleet of new Pinzgauer Light Operational Vehicles (LOVs). The 321 armoured and non-armoured vehicles represent an investment of $93 million, and will replace the Army’s current fleet of ageing Landrovers.

At the handover ceremony, Mark Burton said that this was another significant step towards achieving government’s goal of a modernised, sustainable Defence Force.

“Purchasing these new vehicles reinforces once again the positive progress we are making in re-equipping all three services of the NZDF. Along with new field communications systems, Light Armoured Vehicles, weaponry, and technology upgrades, this government has already invested close to $1 billion in the Army alone.

“Earlier this week, I signed the contract for a $352 million mission systems and communication and navigation equipment upgrade for our fleet of P-3 Orion aircraft. These planes are critical for surveillance of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and surrounding waters, search and rescue, and meeting our South Pacific obligations. This upgrade will ensure interoperability with our security partners, allow New Zealand to participate in a range of operations, and provide support to the Defence Force’s other maritime and land force elements.

“When this government took office in late 1999, we inherited a force suffering from nine years of neglect and an ad-hoc approach to funding and acquisitions. I’m proud to say that we have brought an end to that era with the Defence Long-Term Development Plan—a planning tool that will enable the government to make acquisition decisions in the context of defence policy, priority of projects, and affordability over the next decade.

“Since the Plan’s release in 2002, 22 major re-equipment projects have been advanced. They include investments in seven new purpose-built naval vessels, a 15-year life extending upgrade of our C-130 Hercules aircraft, the purchase of two 757-200 jet aircraft to replace our ageing 727s, an upgrade of the runway at Ohakea Air Base, and the invitation of proposals for the replacement of Air Force utility and training helicopters.

“We have ended the shameful level of neglect visited on our Defence Force by National throughout the 1990s,” said Mark Burton.

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