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Air Force Boeing 757 Returns To New Zealand Skies

New Zealand Defence Force

Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

August 19 2008

Air Force Boeing 757 Returns To New Zealand Skies

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B7571, the RNZAF's upgraded and modified 757 arrives in Wellington


In what is a major milestone for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Boeing 757 modification and upgrade programme, the first of two aircraft (NZ7571) has returned to New Zealand from Mobile Aerospace Engineering in Mobile, Alabama.

After 16 months of extensive airframe and avionics (navigation/communication) modifications the 757 touched down at the RNZAF's Airmovements Terminal in Wellington this afternoon for its official welcome. On hand to greet the aircraft and crew were the Minister of Defence, the Honorable Phil Goff, Secretary of Defence, John McKinnon, Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Graham Lintott, invited dignitaries and regional Defence personnel.

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Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Graham Lintott, Minister of Defence, Mr Phil Goff and RNZAF 757 captain, Squadron Leader Craig Abela stand in the new cargo door of the modified RNZAF 757


"To see the first Boeing arrive back in New Zealand is a reward to all those involved in this project. The increased capability of this aircraft will provide a significant boost to the Air Force's airlift options. We will have the ability to rapidly change the role of the aircraft to any given task, converting from standard passenger configuration to a combination freight/passenger, full freight, Aero Medical Evacuation (AME) and VIP set up," Air Vice-Marshal Lintott said.

The aircraft will conduct Introduction into Service activities over the coming months including training, operational testing and evaluation of the upgraded B757 air transport system as a whole. It is expected to be ready for operational tasking before the end of the year.

The second of the RNZAF's Boeing 757 aircraft will complete its upgrade programme at Mobile Aerospace Engineering and Boeing Integrated Defence Systems in Wichita, Kansas towards the end of the year. Both modified 757 aircraft will be fully operational and available from early 2009 after completing Operational Testing and Evaluation in New Zealand.

The $221 million dollar acquisition and modification project commenced in May 2003 when the RNZAF replaced its aging Boeing 727 aircraft.


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