Royal New Zealand Defence Force

Air Wing

Order of Battle

1 Squadron - Tactical Transport
2 Squadron - Tactical Transport
3 Squadron - Tactical Transport
4 Squadron - National Surveillance
5 Squadron - Maritime Patrol
14 Squadron - Training/ Ground Attack
15 Squadron - Combat Training
40 Squadron - Transport
42 Squadron - Helicopter Training
75 Squadron - Combat
487 Squadron - Strategic Recce

Tactical Transport

1, 2 and 3 Squadrons each have Pegasus helicopters, and are assigned to the brigade commands. 1 Squadron has 16 Helicopters, 2 squadron 11, and 3 squadron 7. In wartime, war stocks will bring all 3 up to full strength. 1 and 3 Squadrons are fully regular, whilst 2 Squadron has a reserve complement of both air and ground crews.

The assignment of 2 and 3 Squadrons to the reserve brigades has an important side effect, namely that these squadrons are readily availible to support the regular battalions of 1 RNZIR. In fact this results in a very high level of air mobility for these units. 3 Squadron trains extensively on South Island and the Antarctic territories and its aircraft are specially modified for these conditions.

National Surveillance

4 Squadron flies 6 National Surveillance Cruisers. These are LTA craft flying over the pacific with powerful sensor arrays, and provides airborne early warning of any attack on New Zealand. Although NZ has access to an array of orbital surveillance satellites it maintains these ageing craft as a back up.

Maritime Patrol

5 Squadron fly 8 Ariadne long range patrol/ maritime strike aircraft. Although trained and equipped for ASuW and ASW strike missions these aircraft most often operate in the SAR role. 5 Sqn also has the capacity to launch long range cruise missile strikes using these aircraft, although missile stocks are believed to be very low.


14 Squadron are responsible for basic jet flight training and have 12 A.9 Hunter jet fighters (use Conventional Frontier Fighter). 15 Squadron teach air to air combat at basic and advanced levels, and have 12 F.17 King Cobra interceptors (use Continental Interceptor). Both squadrons are able to act as front-line squadrons in wartime.


40 Squadron are the fixed wing transport group equipped with 9 Loadmasters. In the event that further resources are required aircraft can be chartered either from NZ flagged airlines or from the ADF.

Helicopter Training

42 Squadron train helicopter pilots, and have 9 Pegasus.


75 Squadron are responsible for air defence and QRF duties. They have 24 F.17 King Cobra fast interceptors. This ageing American fighter has been recently up-graded but is still famous for its exceptional endurance, making it ideal for operations over the Pacific.

Above: Squadron shield of the newly reactivated 487 Squadron. The original 487 of WW2 was a crack squadron equipped with light bombers and tasked with point attacks on high value targets in Europe.

Strategic Recce

487 Squadron is equipped with 6 long range strike/recce Mosquito aircraft. These aircraft are recently acquired and represent a controversial part of NZ defence policy. Their stated role is strategic recce across the Pacific Rim, however most analysts believe the aircraft are actually tasked with interdiction of high value Papuan targets.