Summary of changes

What difference would the proposed changes make to NZDF?


The cost of operating the NZDF would reduce by about 1/3rd.  This is due to two things:
1) selling the Meko frigates
2) reducing the headcount of the NZDF significantly
3) integrating the airforce, navy and army into a new command structure
4) "corporatising" military training and arsenal management
The objective is to get the same, or more risk capability for less.

Industrial Benefits

The objective is to spend more on New Zealand based solutions so that the defence budget has a stimulatory effect on New Zealand industry.
In the days of yore the NZDF operated the NZ Defence Establishment which was a cardigan and walkshorts operation to test and develop systems for the New Zealand military. By corporatising the NZ Arsenal into a SOE the Arsenal can take equity positions in technology firms in order to develop better kit either for New Zealand or for sale. This is similar to the role Singapore Kinetics plays in building technology for the Singapore military. This will require a far more commercial outlook to supplying and equipping the NZDF but is ultimately aimed at reducing the burden on taxpayers while maximising employment opportunities in New Zealand. The same approach is taken by corporatising the NZ Military Academy which would provide training not only to New Zealand services but also to those of other nations as well as other suitable parties.




Textile/Outdoor Clothing and Equipment Industry

Defence Uniforms represent an opportunity to improve the vertical integration of the New Zealand textile industry from fibre to garment. This doesn't necessarily mean Merino everything because wood fibre is another potential sources of fibre.


 Marine Technology Industry

New Zealand makes high grade aluminium and excellent carbon fibre vessels, it is also the home of Hamilton Jet boat engines. It is home of Naid RIBS and Stabicraft boats. Building a series of long range general purpose work boats for naval purposes provides a technology demonstrator and a potential kick-start for a business to rival the Tasmanian Cat builders Incat.


Rocket Technology

The obvious strategic benefit of developing Rocket Lab Ltd technology and a rocketry system in New Zealand is that it would provide a launch vehicle for maritime reconnaisance and (if needed in the defence of the realm) military anti-shipping payloads.



Military training ranges from survival to combat training. The market for the latter will be larger than the market for the former but will definitely extend beyond the NZDF.


From the Gibbs HSA, to the Martin Jetpack, New Zealand firms have a lot to offer, and the NZDF has a lot to gain if those technologies can be refined to meet their specification. A commercial approach to development and investment would assist New Zealand firms and the NZDF.


Risk Benefits

The only risk which is increased is the danger posed by submarine sneak attack. All other scenarios are arguably better served with the new configuration.
Hazard Benefits

There is no military system which can shield New Zealand against bollides. Anti-missile missiles like Iron Dome are built to destroy warheads made largely of explosive in mid-air. Bollides are hard solid masses which are typically already heated to 4000 Kelvin by re-entry friction. Missiles will have no effect on them.

Solar radiation

Only Tempest radiation hardening and fibreoptics will make much difference to that hazard but the military won't make save civilian systems.

Aircraft are not much use around volcanoes. The main difference with the land forces is one of training. The Military Police are trained as police and can operate with civilian police. The Motorised battalion has a wider range of vehicles (eg Bronco) to choose from.

On Pacific islands the Fast Cat ships can get to the disaster area fast and because they have low drafts get closer to assist with evacuation faster. Acting in a swarm means they can evacuate more people or supply more equipment.

Christchurch 2011 (Wikipedia)

The C-130s and B757 were essential in the early stages of the February 2011 quake. The Navy used its ships as a mobile soup kitchen. But it was the army which was called in to secure dangerous parts of the city.

The remodeled Expeditionary Brigade has elements from four main battalions for this eventuality:

1) Military Police - safety and security to augment NZ Police
2) Pioneers - to augment civilian agencies and contractors
3) Biodefence - to establish initial biosafety
4) Motorised - to truck in supplies where roads are impassable
All of these have clear roles and duties and can slot into civilian structures.
The Logistics support ships and the shallow draught Marine Cats provide more sealift capability.
The KC-390s and similar to the C-130s (but faster) and the air training fleet more useful.

2010 Tsunami, Japan

The remodeled Expeditionary can offer elements from the following Battalions

1) Marines - if needed for SAR and rescue operations with A109s
2) Biodefence - for dealing with dead, injured and homeless
3) Pioneers - for assisting homeless
4) Military Police - for maintaining security
5) Motorised for providing supplies where road access is poor

The Marine Cats can also be used to help survey underwater changes to harbours

Logistic support ships and KC-390s can bring in supplies.

In the Pacific the KC-390MPA could also drop stores while surveying damage with or without Avenger drones.


TEV Wahine before sinking

The remodeled Expeditionary can offer elements from the following Battalions

1) The Pioneers - for sandbagging and preparation
2) Motorised - for supplies and access
3) Marines - if needed for SAR and rescue operations with A109s

NH90s for further SAR work

In the Pacific the KC-390MPA could also drop stores while surveying damage with or without Avenger drones. Logistic support ships and KC-390s can bring in supplies. Marine A109s operate from ships for communication, medevac and survey. NH90s for resupply.

US Flu hospital (Wikipedia)

The remodeled Expeditionary battalion can offer elements from the following battalions

1) Biodefence - for front-line decontamination and isolation
2) Pioneers - to build isolation treatment facilities
3) Military Police - to enforce containment protocols

If dealing with a contaminated refugee ship the EPVs and OPVs or logistics ships with A109s can enforce quarantine.

Agricultural epidemic
2001 Foot and Mouth Outbreak (The Guardian)

The remodeled Expeditionary battalion can offer elements from the following battalions

1) Biodefence - for front-line decontamination and isolation
2) Pioneers - to build isolation treatment facilities
3) Military Police - to enforce containment protocols
Chemical fire/gas

1984 ICI chemical fire Auckland

In general military agencies are not needed in these emergencies, although the NH90 helicopters may be called upon.

Chemical/oil spill
Rena clean-up (Maritime New Zealand)

The two EPVs are designed to contain oil spills off Norways coast.

The Marines can deploy fast catamarrans with containment booms in ISO mission containers.

Uncontrolled/Unsustainable fishing
Orange Roughy in nets

Inshore fishery enforcement support is the focus of the Marine Battalion with their Fast Cats and A109 helicopters

Deep Sea fishery enforcement is the role of:
1) the KC-390MPA and Avenger drones
2) the EPVs
3) the OPVs

Indonesian pirates

Piracy is best fought with ships which pirates think are civilian targets.

The Logistic Support Ships have long ranges, look like freighters, but have low key but lethal armament (0.50 cal HMG), armed A109 helicopters and RHIBs with Marines.

Maritime (category 2) Search and Rescue

The Marine Battalion can carry out SAR with the A109 in bad weather and the Catamarans in fair weather.

Longer range SAR can be managed with a combination of the KC-390MPA, the Avenger drones and the NH-90s which can be refueled in the air by the KC-390MPA (although in bad weather this is obviously risky).

Ice-bound vessels can be rescued by the ice-breaking EPVs.
UAV footage on Youtube

This is a GCSB responsibility and as the GCSB is a secret agency this review has no capacity to make recommendations.


The Police typically manage these operations however obviously the NZ SAS and the NH90 helicopters have a role.

If needed the Motorised Battalion's armoured vehicles could also be used.
State Sabotage/Mining
Rainbow Warrior, Auckland Harbour (Greenpeace)

Responding to the use of mines in New Zealand waters would fall to the Marine Battalion using the high speed catamarans and a dive support or subsea drone ISO container.

They would be supported by the KC-390MPA and Avenger drone aircraft.
State failure
Honiara, Solomon Island (source BBC)

The Expeditionary Battalion can offer elements from the following battalions:

1) Military Police - re-establish order
2) Pioneers - rebuild government infrastructure

The NH-90s can provide logistical support for government agencies.
The Military Academy would provide training services and on other on-site air services

The 757s and KC-390s plus the Logistical support ships provide supplies.

Low intensity proxy wars
RNZAF Iroquois in Timor-Leste

The Expeditionary Battalion can offer elements from the following battalions:

1) Military Police - re-establish order
2) Pioneers - build infrastructure
3) The Rangers - provide counter-insurgency and military intelligence
4) Motorised - May be needed for secure transport
5) BioDefence - elements for food safety and security

The NH-90s can provide logistical support for government agencies.
The Military Academy would provide training services and on other on-site air services

The 757s and KC-390s plus the Logistical support ships provide supplies.
Occupation/Guerilla Wars
NZ soldiers perform haka in Bamiyan, Afghanistan

The NZSAS can be used for its specialist tasks

The Expeditionary Battalion can offer
elements from the following battalions

1) The Rangers - provide security, counter-insurgency and military intelligence
2) Military Police - local security for populace
3) Pioneers - construction of infrastructure
4) Biodefence - bio security

The B757s and KC-390s can provide logistic support

The NZ Military Academy can provide training to local forces
High intensity war

The Battle of Coral Sea 1942

The force is not designed for high intensity warfare but could be stretched for this purpose.

Perimeter security and very long range airstrike - KC-390MPA and Avenger Drones
range to about 2,000 nautical miles

Parachute insertion, sabotage and reconnaissance: KC-390 and NZSAS
range to about 2,ooo nautical miles

Island invasion: 3 Logistic vessels, Expeditionary Brigade force with A109 as gunships, NH-90s transports, fast catamarans, OPV and EPVs in support and long range airstrike
range to 2,0oo nautical miles

Mainland defence: this scenario would come with no small amount of warning. In WW2 our surprise was due to the fact we trusted the British to defend us and they couldn't. The US did. The US still has superiority in the Pacific. The only potential for surprise would be effective invasion by Australia and or the United States under the guise of providing security.
In the event of an overt threat it would be a good time to develop 1) long range rocket weapons (we have this technology), 2) potential bioweapons (we have this capability too), 3) fuel-air explosive weapons (yes, we also have this capability) and 4) UAV jamming technology (which we should be able to do).
and start buying 1) anti aircraft missiles and 2) long range anti-shipping missile
Submarine Sneak Attack

The revised defence force is not well armed to deal with submarines compared to the existing one.

This would fall to the KC-390MPAs. These could deploy passive and active sonar buoys and carry considerable numbers of parachute deployed homing torpedoes.

The fast catamarrans could also operate in a swarm to hunt an escaping submarine in shallow water. Although they would be horribly noisy they would be fast and too hard for the sub to counter-attack. They could deploy depth charges in large numbers and side launched torpedoes.
Antarctic Programme

The EPVs are built for operation in northern Norway above the arctic circle and have ice-breaking capability.

The KC-390s can replace the C-130H but are faster.

The Bronco tracked armoured vehicle is related to the Hagglunds tractor used in the Antarctic.


"Order of Battle"

These are the new and current systems which would be retained.
 Proposed Alternative    Current Direction  
EPV x 2
US$100m each
with 256 fewer crew.  1/5th capital charge. Able to fight fires and spills. The EPV is able to cut ice. 57mm cannon.
Frigates x 2
Upgrade cost US$50m
cost to operate NZ$400m per year. They will approach the end of their lives by 2025.

   OPVs x 2  
 OPVs x 2
New ships with a long life. There is no need to sell or scrap them

 IPVs x 4

The Marines would take over the IPVS as foul weather patrol boats with the Cats


 IPVs x 4

The Navy has threatened to mothball two IPVs due to lack of interest

Fast Cat x 7
An Ocean-going fast catamarran powered by NZ Hamilton jets able to carry mission loads in ISO containers. Range to reach island territories at 30 knots. Carry 24 passengers and/or 500T. 25mm cannon turret mounted from LAV IIIs.

Resolution and Monawai replacement
   HMNZS Canterbury    HMNZS Canterbury. Its what we have. Not by any means that great but not worth selling or scrapping.
Logistics ships/oiler x 2
est cost $90m each. These ships are intended as multi mission mother ships with launches, helicopters, fuel, stores and vehicles. Operate with Cats.
Oiler x 1
est cost $50m
 KC-390 Transport x4
est cost US$70m per unit, Total cost $350m+ support. Fast cats and logistic vessels supplement.
 C-130J Transport x5
Ultimately the C-130H's have to be replaced. The A400M costs twice as much as the C-130J. The easiest path is the C-130J.
est unit cost $90- 100m
 KC-390 MPA x3
Est cost US$90m
There is pleanty of room to accomodate non ASW Orion's kit into a transport aircraft airborne control stations for the Avenger drone also needed.  Cost $270m + support.
 PC-130J  MPA x6
Ultimately the P-3Ks have to be replaced. The P-8 Poesidon would cost way too much so the easiest path is the C-130J maritime. est cost $100- 120m. $720m
 GA Avenger x6
Estimated fleet cost $220m. Hugely reduced opps cost over P3s for routine surveillance.
 Retain and maintain until they reach their economic end of life.  
 While the B757s won't last forever they remain a valuable asset while we still have them.
 E-190 Medevac/VIP
for all those times we send a medical team to international disasters
cost $40m. This is a training craft but with useful functionality in addition. NZ governments often send medical teams which don't need a whole 757.
 C-235 x 2
Low cost transport for exercises, paradropping and minor duties (training) Way cheaper than C-130s to operate.
Cost $20m
 Embraer Phenom x 2
 Training, VIP low cost SAR
Advanced training x 2 aircraft and utility    


   The only additions would be air-to-air refuelling and night vision flying for missions into the Pacific supported by the
KC-390. The extra logistics ships improve deployability.
    NH90s. This is a brand new helicopter. Even if it was not the best deal or the best helicopter it is the one we have.
   The A109 was selected by the RNZAF as a training helicopter but it is used by the US Coastguard and can be armed very easily. The A109 works with all ships, even the fast cats.    The Seasprite is a technological orphan that will have to be replaced by 2020.
 The LAV III can still be adapted with new weapons  or engineering systems to be more useful than it is. The extra logistics ships and the cats will improve deployability greatly.    The LAV III is effectively mothballed because it can't be readily deployed and isn't much use in NZ. The system is not competitive tactically against modern IFVs
   A lightweight amphibious better protected armoured vehicle (with a V hull) is more deployable than a LAV III by air or sea.    The Pinzgauers are the most deployable vehicle but not very well protected and not amphibious. Their logistic support is dwindling too.
   A tracked, amphibious carrier will go more places than a Pinzgauer and be usable on environmentally sensitive Southern islands due to its low pressure.    
   The MAN HX trucks are an excellent military truck    The MAN HX trucks are an excellent military truck
By contast Multicam is very good, if more expensive. Upgrading is worth the cost. The US Army has bitten that bullet so can we.    The NZ Army's Mutiterrain Combat Uniform is not quite best protection.  Money should be no object


Elite special forces unit


Rangers Battalion

Elite light Infantry, for dispersed peacekeeping, intelligence gathering  and security work.  Front line soldiers,

Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery
Army Intelligence

 Pioneers Battalion

Engineering light infantry for construction and destruction of buildings and infrastructure in dangerous worksites.

Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
Corps of Royal New Zealand Engineers
Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals
Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery

 Marines Battalion

Naval infantry for EEZ and ship protection. Experts at bording and arresting pirates. Also main unit for operating in litoral situations.

Royal New Zealand Navy
Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
Naval Diving Support
Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery
Naval Aviation (Helicopters)
4 Inshore Patrol Vessels

 Military Police Battalion

Police trained light infantry. Community focused with security and low intensity warfare expertise. Also specialise in other emergency services including SAR.

   Corps of Royal New Zealand Military Police
Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
Military Fire Service

 Biodefence Battalion

Combination of medical, culinary and sanitation units focused on comfort and microorganism defence

   Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps
Royal New Zealand Army Nursing Corps
Royal New Zealand Army Dental Corps
Corps of Royal New Zealand Engineers

 Motorised Battalion

Mobile operations specialist unit for transport and mobile conflict.

Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps
Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment
Corps of Royal New Zealand Engineers