The Defence Ministry is about to begin seeking tenders for new training aircraft for the Air Force.
The lease for the service life for the two types of aircraft used for pilot training, the single engine CT-4E and the twin engine turbo-prop King Air B200, ends in 2018, Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said.
The tender is to supply a new permanent pilot training capability including aircraft, a simulator package, and a maintenance and support package.
Mr Coleman said the Air Force's entire operational fleet was being replaced or upgraded, including modern avionics and cockpits.
"Cabinet's eventual decision on aircraft types and ownership and maintenance options will be assessed against pricing comparisons and the ability to meet technical and performance requirements," he said.
A formal tender would be issued in the next few days and Cabinet was expected to consider the options in the latter half of next year.