The "Mad Foxes" are taking flight from Ohakea Air Base and over the surrounding region.

They are the US Navy's Patrol Squadron (VP) 5 who have brought their P-8A Poseidon aircraft to New Zealand to conduct joint training and aircraft familiarisation with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

In early 2023, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) will acquire a fleet of P-8A Poseidon aircraft under the Air Surveillance Maritime Patrol Programme. The fleet will be located at Ohakea.

Commander Carl White, commanding officer of VP-5, said the P-8A Poseidon was the world's newest, most capable maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.


"The Pacific and Southern Oceans provide such a variety of challenges, we are looking forward to demonstrating the aircraft's capabilities and how it can respond to those situations," White said.

"We will also be conducting ground training with our maintenance professionals as well as classroom training with our aircrew. It will be a great opportunity for both teams to learn from each other.

"Our work with the RNZAF is based on shared experiences of those that patrol the world's oceans from the skies. The young sailors and officers will take back what they learn here and apply it to further engagements with New Zealand."

White said the Mad Foxes were "committed to demonstrating the US' focus on regional security and our support to the Indo-Pacific Region".

"Both New Zealand and the United States are committed to our shared neighbourhood and activities such as assisting the Pacific Island nations with their maritime fisheries surveillance. This visit will enhance maritime security and foster this ongoing regional co-operation."

The Mad Foxes are currently deployed to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, conducting maritime patrol and reconnaissance and theatre outreach operations.