2 May 2011

Upgraded Orion handed back to Air Force

8:43 pm on 2 May 2011

An upgraded Orion aircraft has been formally handed back to the Royal New Zealand Air Force, more than five years after it flew to the United States for an overhaul.

The plane is the first of six to get a makeover, at a total cost of $373 million.

The chief of the airforce, Air-Vice Marshall Peter Stockwell, says the new technology onboard is state of the art and includes upgraded radar, optics, communication and navigation systems.

He says the latest upgrade should extend the Orions' lifetimes out to about 2025.