The additions to the Army's VLLAD system will provide a 'friend or foe' identification, alerting, and a cueing system to determine if aircraft are friend or foe. The VLLAD system will be linked through the recently purchased Tactical Mobile Communications System radios, and is expected to be in service by the end of 2005. The P-3Ks will receive both the Communication And Navigation Systems Upgrade and the P-3 Mission Systems Upgrade.
New Zealand's VLLAD missile system has been purchased incrementally and has not yet reached full operational capability for lack of the auto cueing and IFF subsystems. Until this latest upgrade, without VACS aircraft identification and targeting, its capability has been limited to visual observation by the operator. Additionally, without IFF, employment of the system with allied partners was hindered due to interoperability factors.
New Zealand plans to complete a buy of 1853 TMCS radios: 786 VHF manpacks/vehicle mounts; 361 HF manpacks/vehicle mounts; 51 Tactical multiband manpacks/vehicle mounts; and 655 Hand Held Portable radios at a total cost of $165 million. These will replace legacy systems from the 1960s and 1970s. Interoperability with allies, including the US and Australia, is being realized by acquiring the radios exclusively from the US as a Foreign Military Sales procurement. Most deliveries of radios have been completed, with final shipments expected by June 2004.
The upgrade of the mission systems and the communication - navigation systems on the six P-3K Orion aircraft operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force is budgeted at $100 - 148 million for mission systems upgrades and $40 - 68 million for communications/navigation systems upgrades. The upgrades include new radar, a new optical detection system, new mission management system, and a nav/comm. upgrade.
Under consideration are tenders for Project Protector, the $ 335 million project to replace frigate Canterbury with new multi-role vessel, offshore and in-shore patrol vessels, and a tender evaluation phase for the C130 Hercules 15-year Structural Life Extension Project.
In December, New Zealand approved for a number of acquisition projects. These include purchase of 175 Pinzgauer Light Operational Vehicles, 13 Special Operations Vehicles, 24 Javelin medium range anti-armor weapon systems, an identification, alerting, and cueing system to complete New Zealand's Very Low-level Air Defence capability (VLLAD), and an upgrade to New Zealand's P-3K maritime patrol aircraft fleet.