Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government has given approval for the NZDF to seek a replacement for the naval tanker HMNZS Endeavour.
“To operate effectively the NZDF needs to provide fuel and logistical support to its deployed ships, helicopters and vehicles,” says Dr Coleman.
“This capability is crucial given New Zealand’s vast maritime area, and our security and disaster relief responsibilities in the South Pacific. Without it NZDF operations would be limited in duration or dependent on our partners.
“The new tanker will be a significant enhancement in capability. It will increase the NZDF’s ability to support and sustain Navy, Army and Air Force operations at home and further afield.
“The tanker will be able to store a large amount of fuel, including aviation fuel, store supplies and ammunition, and accommodate an NH90 or Seasprite helicopter.
“This capability is needed as the NZDF has more ships which can embark new helicopters, and it is crucial that the tanker can support the Joint Task Force as set out in the 2010 Defence White Paper.
“Possible winterisation features will also be considered which could enable the tanker to resupply bases in Antarctica.”
HMNZS Endeavour will reach the end of her service life in 2018. Maintenance costs are increasing, and the vessel will face non-compliance issues with new international maritime regulations.
The request for tender is expected to be issued by the Ministry of Defence in early 2015. A final recommendation will be made to Cabinet in mid-2016.