WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Following the delayed defense white paper released last June, New Zealand's minister of defense, Gerry Brownlee, on Nov. 16 released the Defence Capability Plan (DCP) 2016, detailing the $14.3 billion investment in capability needed out to 2030.
Five areas have been selected for capability investment, according to the DCP, including cyber protection and support, intelligence support, littoral operations, operations in the Antarctic Ocean and southern bodies of water, and air surveillance.
Barely was the ink dry on the entire DCP, however, when a 7.8 earthquake resulted in the closure of the New Zealand Defence Force headquarters in Wellington as well as the evacuation of the government's national cyber defense center, which is under the purview of the Communications Security Bureau.
Intelligence support has long been encouraged; there was concern expressed by Air Force personnel to Defense News more than eight years ago that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities — particularly of the Royal New Zealand Air Force's P-3K2 Orion air surveillance capability — were in excess of the capacity to process, analyze and distribute such information.
With Boeing upgrading the Orion's underwater ISR "to better detect and deter underwater threats," the potential flow of data merely increases even as consideration is given to replacing the Orions when the six-aircraft fleet retires in the 2020s, having entered service in the 1960s.
Replacement platforms may not be like for like, as 'investment in remotely piloted aerial systems is also under consideration,' the DCP noted.
By 2030, there will be either a surface combatant capability in service or under procurement to replace the Navy's two Anzac-class frigates, the DCP said.
Meanwhile, there are plans to add a third ice-strengthened offshore patrol vessel (OPV) to the Navy's OPV fleet, with upgraded communications and sensors by 2027 to extend the fleet's life into the 2030s. New torpedoes are due by 2028.