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Orion to extend deployment for three months

13 October 2003 Media Statement

Orion to extend deployment for three months

A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3 Orion aircraft deployed in the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea since May will remain for a further three months, Minister of Defence Mark Burton announced today.

The Orion was deployed as part of the multinational Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO), working alongside Australia, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Germany, and Spain. Specifically, the aircraft is tasked with the detection, identification and surveillance of surface vessels.

Mark Burton said that New Zealand’s role in the MIO had proved valuable to the operation as a whole.

“Since deploying in April, our Orion has flown over 70 missions, detecting and photographing over 2,200 vessels—a level of tasking that has impressed our coalition partners across the board.

“New Zealand is committed to working closely with others globally to counter the continuing threat of terrorism to international security, and the extension of this deployment illustrates that commitment.

“Our Defence Force personnel continue to achieve excellent results, acquitting themselves with distinction in an extremely challenging environment.”

ENDS


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