Aircraft-Carrying Ships
Royal New Zealand Navy

This page gives a summary of the aircraft-carrying ships which have been or are used by the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Pennant No. Name Type Status
C70 HMNZS Achilles Cruiser Retired
C75 HMNZS Leander Cruiser Retired
F421 HMNZS Canterbury Frigate Retired
F104 HMNZS Southland Frigate Retired
F55 HMNZS Waikato Frigate Retired
F69 HMNZS Wellington Frigate Retired
F77 HMNZS Te Kaha Frigate Active
F111 HMNZS Te Mana Frigate Active
L421 HMNZS Canterbury Amphibious Support Active
P148 HMNZS Otago Offshore Patrol Active
P55 HMNZS Wellington Offshore Patrol Active

Royal New Zealand Navy

Operator Profile


Narrative Summary

The Royal New Zealand Navy started life as the New Zealand Naval Forces, part of the British Royal Navy from 1913. In 1921 this became the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy, and in October 1941 became a fully independent naval force as the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Beginning in 1936, the NZD operated catapult-launched Walrus amphibian biplanes from HMS Achilles and HMS Leander. The former ship took part in the Battle of the River Plate in 1939. The aircraft were retired at the end of World War II.

In 1966 the RNZN became a helicopter operator, forming a squadron of Westland Wasp helicopters. Deployed on the Navy’s Leander Class Frigates, the Wasp provided excellent service for the next 32 years. In 1998 the Kaman SH-2 Seaprite replaced the Wasp in RNZN service. Initially an interim standard SH-2F version was operated, but this was later replaced by the more advanced SH-2G version.

Key Dates

1 October 1941 Royal New Zealand Navy established as a separate organisation.
1966 First helicopter type obtained – Westland Wasp.
1998 Kaman SH-2 Seasprite begins to replace the Wasp helicopter.

Current Status

All RNZN helicopters currently are currently active.

Future Plans

No plans known.


National Insignia

The Walrus aircraft operated in standard Fleet Air Arm colours. The Wasp helicopter carried the high visibility version of the red Kiwi roundel on the fuselage sides, with ‘RNZN’ service titles. The Seaprites carry the low visibility version of the roundel with ‘NAVY’ service titles.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Aircraft operating with the RNZN carry serials in the same sequence as the RNZAF, e.g. Wasp NZ3907.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.


Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Aircraft Type Total Del’d Total Active Still on Order Role
Kaman SH-2G(NZ) Super Seasprite 5 5 0 ASW

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Kaman SH-2F Seasprite 4 1998 2001 USA
Kaman SH-2G(I) Super Seasprite 8 2014 n/a USA
Kaman SH-2G(NZ) Super Seasprite 5 2001 current USA
Supermarine Walrus I ? 1936 1947 UK
Westland Wasp HAS.1 15 1966 1998 UK

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

None known.


Main Headquarters

Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand, Trentham, Upper Hutt, Wellington.

Organisational Structure

The only current flying unit is No. 6 Squadron.

Current Order of Battle

As above.

Historical Orders of Battle

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

3 Squadron RNZAF
6 Squadron RNZAF
Naval Support Flight

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

RNZN aircraft have been based at Whenuapai since July 1998.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

No.3 Squadron was originally based at Hobsonville until 1998.
Aircraft-Carrying Ships Listing

More Information


None known.


To be added


wikipedia: Royal New Zealand Navy
Official website

Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.