15 Oct 09. In his recent speech at the national Industry Association Forum, John McKinnon, Secretary of Defence of New Zealand, outlined a comprehensive defence review which will open new opportunities for the local industry. This first major Review of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF or “Defence”) in over a decade will focus in detail on the five years to 2016. However, reflecting the long-life of key equipment it, in fact, reaches out until 2035. Thereby, the Review will be based on two major documents that will be published in the upcoming months.
The first, a Defence Assessment, is being conducted by the Ministry and will report on defence policy priorities and strategies. It will also develop a range of options for aligning policy, capabilities and force structure. And it will examine options for improving the administrative and organisational capabilities of the Defence agencies, including procurement.
The second document, a Defence White Paper, will be the culmination of a process of consultative review, both across government and involving the public. Drawing on the options in the Defence Assessment, it will chart a policy direction for Defence, provide guidance to policy planners, and signal the Government’s security intentions. The Defence Assessment is scheduled to be established by December, while the White Paper is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year.
Both documents will provide an enduring framework for guiding decisions on questions, such as how New Zealand will use the Defence Force, and how they manage their investment in Defence Force capabilities, McKinnon explained.
The 1997 White Paper, entitled “The Shape of New Zealand’s Defence”, concentrated on recovery operations and general tasks and operations of the NZDF. The new White Paper will specifically address the more challenging global security environment. The aim is to put in place a long-term, realistic, and financially sustainable plan for the future development and operation of the New Zealand Defence Force.
Since 1999, new capabilities worth approximately $2 billion have been introduced into service, or are being introduced, while the procurement of equipment valued at an additional $2 billion is still in the acquisition phase. Among the key capabilities and platforms waiting to be introduced into service or to be upgraded are the systems listed below.
However, the following must be seen in the context of the Government’s intention to keep defence expenditures at approximately 1 percent of GDP. This will lead to a number of very significant mid-term decisions to be made regarding the replacement of the C-130 Hercules and P-3 Orion fleets, as well as the modernisation of the naval combat force. “This means we must get maximum value out of every dollar,” McKinnon said.
* Project Protector
As part of Project Protector, two new Offshore Patrol Vessels will soon be deployed in the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). Project Protector fleet requirements were outlined in the 2002 Maritime Forces Review. The Project Protector vessels’ capabilities include sealift, coastal and offshore patrol, and at-sea training for the RNZN. In April 2004, BAE Systems Australia was chosen as the prime contractor for the Project Protector patrol vessels.
• NH90 medium utility helicopter fleet
In 2005, New Zealand announced the selection of NHIndustries’ NH90 helicopter as a replacement helicopter for the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) ageing UH-1 Iroquois. In a US$475m contract, eight NH90s have been ordered. While the Air Force had already begun the retirement of the Iroquois, NHIndustries will only see the delivery of the first NH90s in mid-2010.
• A109 training and light utility helicopter
The Royal New Zealand Air Force will introduce five AgustaWestland A109 light utility helicopters (LUH) and a simulator into service to replace the Sioux training helicopter. The T/LUH will provide the requir