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Govt. continues to invest in Defence Force

9 December 2003 Media Statement

Government continues to invest in New Zealand’s Defence Force

Minister of Defence Mark Burton has today announced Cabinet approval for several Army acquisition projects outlined in the Defence Long Term Development Plan (LTDP), including the purchase of the first tranche of Light Operational Vehicles (LOVs), 24 Javelin medium range anti-armour weapon systems (MRAAWs), and an identification, alerting, and cueing system to complete New Zealand’s very low-level air defence capability (VLLAD).

Cabinet has also approved the Ministry of Defence to advance another major project to the next stage and invite proposals for the supply of Air Force utility and training helicopters.

Mark Burton stressed that today’s decisions continue to move New Zealand towards the goal of having a modernised, well-equipped, and sustainable Defence Force.

“Cabinet has agreed to the purchase of 175 non-armoured LOVs and 13 Special Operations Vehicles (SOVs). The acquisition processes have shown that the best match for New Zealand’s capability needs is the Pinzgauer vehicle, supplied by Automotive Technik Ltd. The Pinzgauer will offer the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) an enhanced off-road load carrying capability that exceeds that available from the current Landrover fleet, with low maintenance overheads and low through-life support costs.

“These 175 vehicles represent the non-armoured component of the Army’s overall requirement of 321 vehicles. Currently, the problems involved in maintaining the Army’s current fleet of Landrovers are impacting on its ability to train and conduct exercises. By purchasing this first tranche now, we can make the initial non-armoured vehicles available as soon as possible, while decisions on the armoured LOVs are being finalised.

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“Alongside the recent purchase of Light Armoured Vehicles (NZLAVs), the purchase of the LOVs is another significant move towards the modernisation of the Army’s capabilities,” said Mark Burton.

“Cabinet has also approved the purchase of 24 Javelin MRAAW systems—a critical component of operations where land forces may face an armoured vehicle threat. The Javelin’s updated technology will provide our forces with a greater range of defensive capability than the Army’s current short-range anti-armour weapon. We expect the Javelin will enter service by mid-2006.

“We will also be purchasing equipment to complete the Army’s VLLAD system. This additional equipment will provide our forces with a ‘friend or foe’ identification, alerting and cueing system to detect aircraft and to determine if they are friendly or unknown. The VLLAD system will be linked through the recently purchased Tactical Mobile Communications System radios (TMCS), and is expected to be in service by the end of 2005.”

Mark Burton also announced approval for the next step in replacing the Iroquois utility helicopter and the Sioux training helicopter.

“Following a project to scope the future operational, policy, and training requirements for the RNZAF’s helicopter fleet, the Ministry of Defence will now be seeking further information from potential suppliers on the capability, availability, price, and supply of replacement helicopters. I expect to bring preferred options to Cabinet late next year.

“Today’s announcements reinforce once again the positive progress we are making in re-equipping all three services of the NZDF. In addition to ongoing deliveries of new TMCS radios and NZLAVs, 16 major Long-Term Development Plan projects have been actioned by the Ministry of Defence and the NZDF over the past twelve months.

“We have completed the upgrade of the runway at Ohakea Air Base and replaced the RNZAF’s aging 727s with 757-200 jet aircraft. The tender process for cargo conversion for the 757s is scheduled to begin next year.

“Tenders are currently being evaluated for Project Protector, the $500 million project which will see the Navy replace the aging frigate Canterbury with a new multi-role vessel, off-shore and in-shore patrol vessels. Also in the tender evaluation phase are the C130 Hercules 15-year Structural Life Extension Project, C-130 and P-3 Communication And Navigation Systems Upgrade, and the P-3 Mission Systems Upgrade. Decisions on all of these projects are expected during the second half of next year.

“The LTDP has enabled this government to make decisions on defence acquisitions over the next decade in the context of defence policy, priority of projects on a cross-service and cross-agency basis, and affordability within the budget set by Cabinet in May 2002.

“I’m proud to say that we have effectively brought an end to the neglect and ad-hoc spending experienced by our Defence Forces throughout the 1990s. Our service men and women are respected around the world for their outstanding work. They deserve a systematic and ongoing acquisition plan that will keep them well equipped for the extensive variety of tasks they are called upon to do,” said Mark Burton.


What is a LOV?
The Light Operational Vehicle (LOV) is a range of off-the-shelf light military vehicles that will be required to carry out command and control, liaison, replenishment, special force, casualty evacuation and administrative tasks. The LOVs require a high degree of off-road capability in order to operate in concert with the Light Armoured Vehicle (NZLAV) and Unimog trucks and will have similar off-road capabilities. An armoured variant of the LOV is needed to support troops in high-risk operations.

What is a Pinzgauer?
A Pinzgauer is light military vehicle originally designed and built in Austria. Since 2003 they have been manufactured in the UK. There are approximately 30,000 Pinzgauer vehicles in-service with 24 different countries including European, UK, and US defence forces. The Pinzgauer fleet consist of a range of 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 vehicles that can be configured for different roles including general service, command and control, special operations, and ambulance vehicles.

Why do we need new vehicles?
New vehicles are required to replace the Army’s ageing fleet of Landrovers, which in its current state is impacting on the Army’s ability to train and conduct exercises. The LOVs will operate in conjunction with the LAV on operations as part of the requirement for a motorised Army.

What do the Australians have?
The Australian Defence Force has recently initiated a project to replace most of their wheeled vehicles. The Australian LOV fleet consists of range of Landrovers which, like the current New Zealand Landrovers, are nearing the end of their service life.

How many vehicles are we buying?
A total of 321 vehicles are being bought in two stages. 188 vehicles will be bought in the first stage and 133 vehicles (including armoured LOVs) will be bought after further testing and analytical work.

How much will the LOVs cost?
The Defence Long-Term Development Plan (LTDP) allocates a range of $NZ60 to $110 million for the LOV project. Cabinet has approved the expenditure of NZ$52 million (GST inclusive) for the purchase of the initial 188 vehicles, and the total price for the project will be within the approved LTDP range. The purchase price includes the vehicles, training, publications, specialist test and tools equipment, spare parts, and project management costs.

Why are we buying in two stages?
Options for the armoured version of the LOV which will meet the Army’s capability needs are still being considered. This testing will not conclude until 2004. It was decided to purchase 188 vehicles now to provide the Army with a range of much-needed Landrover replacements without unnecessarily delaying for the completion of testing of armoured LOVs.
When will they arrive?
The first vehicles will arrive within six months after contract signing date with all 188 Pinzgauer vehicles delivered 18 months after contract signing date.
What types are being purchased and how many?
The initial purchase of 188 vehicles includes:
95 x General Service (MV-GS) Vehicles
The MV-GS will be utilised as a general utility vehicle with forward units. Its tasks will include conveyance of combat supplies, general administration, and resource movement.
57 x Command and Control (MV-C) Vehicles
The MV-C provides a mobile command and control platform to co-ordinate the movement of units during operations and to provide communications with headquarters and other deployed forces.
13 x Special Operations (MV-SO) Vehicles
The MV-SO will provide NZ Special Forces with a highly mobile and agile platform to conduct operations from. These vehicles will be able to be quickly task reconfigured to meet modern and diverse Special Force roles.
15 x Shelter (MV-S) Vehicles
The MV-S will be fitted with electronic communications equipment and will provide technicians with a controlled environment in which to repair sensitive equipment during military operations.
8 x Ambulance (MV-A) Vehicles
The MV-A is able of carrying four casualties on stretchers and providing stowage for medical equipment.

Are spares being bought for the vehicle?
Yes, up to two years of spares will be purchased.

How many people can the vehicle carry?
Up to 12 personnel (including the driver).

What payload can they carry?
Depending on the vehicle type, the Pinzgauer can carry up to 2400 kg.



In April 1998, the New Zealand Army took delivery of the Mistral VLLAD weapon system. The system consisted primarily of missiles and missile launchers. The necessary alerting and cueing system was treated as a separate project, and was not purchased at that time.

What is an alerting and cueing system?

An alerting and cueing system detects aircraft, positively identifies whether the aircraft is friendly or unknown, and provides targeting information to air defence missile operators.

The key components of an alerting and cueing system are friend or foe identification units, a radar system, a command post, and weapons terminals (display units).

Why do we need an alerting and cueing system?

Without an alerting and cueing system, the VLLAD troop’s missile operators must rely on visually detecting and identifying aircraft. Reliance on visual detection and identification is a serious limitation because:
a. the time available to react to a hostile aircraft is significantly reduced, particularly at night or in poor weather;
b. limited reaction time increases the risk that a hostile aircraft will release its weapons; and
c. missile operators cannot easily distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft.
The Defence Long-Term Development Plan describes the alerting and cueing system as “a project necessary to provide a well-equipped land force.”

How will we use the complete VLLAD capability?

The complete VLLAD capability will help to protect deployed land force elements from air threats such as low flying attack aircraft and helicopters.

What is the cost of the alerting and cueing system?

The alerting and cueing project approved budget is NZ$15.500 million.

When will the complete VLLAD capability enter service?

The system is likely to enter into service by late 2005.


What is the MRAAW?

The MRAAW is a shoulder launched man portable anti-tank missile system. It comprises two parts: a Command Launch Unit (CLU), which uses an infrared observation system to detect, identify, and lock on to the target, and the missile itself.

Why do we need the MRAAW and when might it be used?

The MRAAW provides land forces with a medium-range capability against armoured vehicles and other targets. It is a critical part of any contribution to peace enforcement operations where land forces may face an armoured vehicle threat. The MRAAW also has some utility in peace support operations for self-protection in the event of an escalation in the threat to ground forces.
The Army currently has a short-range (600 metres) anti-armour weapon. Its effectiveness, however, is limited. A medium-range anti-armour weapon is capable of defeating threats at a greater range of up to 2,300 metres.

How many systems are we buying and for what cost?

Twenty-four MRAAW systems are being purchased. The approved budget for this project is NZ$ 26.838 million.

When will the MRAAW enter service?

The system is likely to enter into service by mid-2006.

Why are utility and training helicopters required?

The primary military role of the utility helicopter is to support conventional land forces and special operations. The helicopter is important for many NZDF operations and in support of other agencies across a wide range of government directed roles.
Utility helicopters provide essential support to deployed New Zealand forces, particularly in peace support operations, and are vital for responses to domestic counter terrorism incidents. In addition, they provide a range of other support functions within New Zealand and the South Pacific, such as in disaster relief operations, search and rescue, fire fighting and counter-drug operations.
Smaller, dedicated training helicopters are required to train crew and pilots in basic helicopter flying and to provide graduated progression to the larger utility and maritime helicopters.
Why replace the Iroquois now?

The Iroquois is 36 years old, and is becoming increasingly difficult to support. The NZDF will be unable to meet future defence policy objectives if the Iroquois is not replaced.
Why replace the Sioux training helicopter now?

The Sioux is 38 years old. It does not provide adequate pilot training progression to operational helicopters. The Iroquois and Navy Seasprite helicopters are being used to meet some training tasks. This is not cost-effective and places a burden on operational resources.
What type and number of helicopters will be required?

The optimum size, type, and number of helicopters is yet to be finalised. A utility helicopter of medium size is, however, required to meet the most demanding utility tasks for the carriage of personnel and equipment in support of military land and special operations and civilian tasks.

A training helicopter is also required to meet the RNZAF’s training requirements. An expansion of the training helicopter capability to provide the capacity for a potential light utility helicopter capability may be desirable and this will be further evaluated in the next stage of work on this project.

Who will fly the new helicopters?

The helicopters will be crewed and supported by the RNZAF.

What will the new NZDF helicopter capability cost?

The Defence Long-Term Development Plan provides $411-$561 million for replacement of the NZDF utility and training helicopter capability. Final costs will be determined once further information has been received and evaluated.

What are the next steps for the helicopter project?

The Government has agreed that the Ministry of Defence should identify potential suppliers and seek further information on capability, availability, price and supply of helicopters for meeting the NZDF’s utility and training helicopter requirements.
The Minister of Defence will report back with refined options to Cabinet by late 2004.

© Scoop Media

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