Royal New Zealand Air Force, March 06, 2015 - The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) officially accepted ownership of the new Seasprite SH-2G(I) helicopters from Kaman Aerospace in a ceremony at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Auckland this morning.
There are three new Seasprites at Base Auckland and the remaining five will be delivered by September.
The new SH-2G(I) replaces the SH-2G model that is presently being used.
Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Jack Steer said the handover marked a significant milestone for the Defence Force’s maritime aviation capability.
“The Seasprites perform a vital function for the Navy, and enhance the roles of our ships at sea, by undertaking a range of tasks including maritime surveillance, search and rescue, counter-terrorism and utility lift. We’ve operated Seasprites since the 1990s and they have proven to be a great capability for us.
“We deployed a Seasprite on HMNZS TE MANA to the Gulf of Aden in 2014 in support of the multi-national Combined Task Force undertaking anti-piracy activities in the region. The Seasprite flew over 120 hours and was used for surveillance and reconnaissance adding substantial value to the operation. We currently have a Seasprite embarked on HMNZS TE KAHA who is on operational deployment until May and the helicopter is an integral part of this mission,” said Rear Admiral Steer.
Operation of the Seasprites is a joint effort between the Navy and Air Force. Seasprites are flown by Navy personnel and maintained by Air Force engineers and technicians who form No.6 Squadron at Whenuapai.