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Air Force to replace advanced training aircraft

Government gives green light for Air Force to replace advanced training aircraft

Cabinet has given the New Zealand Defence Force the green light to begin the acquisition process for advanced pilot training aircraft for the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Defence Minister Phil Goff announced today.

"A tender is being prepared for release next year seeking submissions from industry to supply aircraft, a training package - including a simulator and other modern training devices - and maintenance and support," Phil Goff said.

"The project aims to find a suitable replacement for the air force's leased 1980s B200 Kingair aircraft. At this stage no decision has been made as to the number and type of aircraft required and the project cost will depend on the option chosen.

"A wide range of potential options for providing the required capability has been considered and the Government has directed that the capability be provided through a training system managed and run by the NZDF rather than through outsourcing training to other military forces or civilian training organisations.

"This will ensure that we continue to provide the right number of pilots, at the right time, trained to the right level and provide a flexible and cost-effective solution, Phil Goff said.

"The Government recognises the need to modernise and upgrade the air force's training capability in order to provide appropriately trained pilots for the new and upgraded aircraft that will enter service with the NZDF in the next few years. These include the upgraded C-130 Hercules, the Boeing 757, the NH90 helicopters and the P-3 Orions."

Today's Advanced Pilot Training Capability announcement follows the recent announcement of the preferred tenderer for the Training and Light Utility Helicopter replacement and a $50 million to $60 million project to upgrade the Anzac frigates, and is another significant step in the Labour-led Government's Defence Long-Term Development Plan to rebuild and re-equip the NZDF, Phil Goff said.

ENDS

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