RNZAF Base Ohakea, often visited by RAAF aircraft, is to receive a $NZ206 million ($A192 million) upgrade of critical infrastructure in three phases over five years, with the first phase starting later this year.
NZ Defence Minister Ron Mark said on 22 May that critical compliance and safety issues would be addressed, as well as upgrades to fuelling and logistics facilities, taxiways and aprons, accommodation, and fresh, storm and waste water reticulation.
Ohakea is a principal staging point for NZ Defence Force operations, and the country’s response to national, regional and global humanitarian disasters and emergencies, said Mark.
It also is often used as the point of entry for the armed forces of strategic partners, he stated, adding that its ability to cope with surges of personnel and equipment was “vital”.
The base currently houses four fleets of aircraft – NH90 and A109 helicopters, KA350 King Air twin turboprop transport/trainers, and T-6C Texan II turboprop trainers.
Separate infrastructure work began at Ohakea last November in preparation for the four Poseidon P-8A maritime patrol aircraft that will replace the RNZAF’s six-strong fleet of P-3K2 Orions. The first P-8A for the RNZAF will arrive in 2023.
This work involves an operations centre, two hangars, accommodation for two P-8A simulators, warehousing, and maintenance facilities.