You probably think I'm kidding. Kiwis in aerospace!? I'm not. New Zealand has some remarkable aerospace opportunities.
Let's start with jetpacks. Yes, jetpacks.
Martin Jetpack is the world's only functional jetpack. Does it have a use? Yes it does. If fishing boats won't heave to for a RHIB they won't have any choice when a Marine with a jetpack lands on their deck. They are potentally useful for SAR in situations where launching a helicopter is risky. Unlike helicopters the jetpack's blades are contained in a housing that prevents inadvertent impacts.
Then there's UAVs. X-Craft builds both rotary wing and fixed wing designs.
From a military perspective UAVs are great for reconnaissance, security and potentially also combat in that they deliver without exposing the operator to risk.
New Zealand also builds aircraft. Pacific Aerospace builds the P-750 XSTOL aircraft, which was designed for skydiving. The plane can carry a full complement of 17 skydivers to 12,000ft and be back on the ground in ten minutes. It offers excellent short take off and landing ability as well as performance in tricky places like the New Guinea highlands. While not a helicopter it is much, much cheaper to operate. PAC is developing a counter-insurgency aircraft based on this design.
The RNZAF replaced its Pacific Aerospace CT4 trainers with 11 US Beechcraft Texan IIs instead.
Rocket Labs is a New Zealand rocketry pioneer specialising in the delivery of low earth orbit satellites. The firm advertises it can put a 150kg satellite into low earth orbit for less than $5 million.
This allows for the rapid development of new space sensing technologies. The firm already advertises its "instant eyes" technology to military customers. One of the firm's launch sites will be in New Zealand.
Whether its developing a long range UAV insertion system or getting a man onto a ship that doesn't want to be boarded New Zealand technology firms have demonstrated they have the capability to make surprising things happen. If defence was a venture partner rather than just a consumer better things could happen for all parties.