The longest mission ever for the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Lockheed Orion No. 5 Squadron ended on 9 December 2015, when the P-3K2 came home to RNZAF Base Auckland.
For 16 months in a row the maritime patrol & surveillance aircraft and 53 members of the RNZ Armed Forces was deployed to Southwest Asia (Persian Gulf region), where it contributed to the fight against piracy and drugs & people trafficking as part of the 30 nation Combined Maritime Forces.
According to a RNZAF statement the aircraft and crews made 1,400 flight hours on the job during 174 operational flights. The Orion frequently cooperated with both Australian and New Zealand navy vessels.
All six RNZAF Orions have recently been updated and modernised, with the last one back on duty in March 2015. The aircraft have a good record, including being the first aircraft to respond to Cyclone Pam earlier this year.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The RNZAF Orion returning home from Persian Gulf duty on 9 December 2015 (Image © RNZAF)