A New Zealand airforce plane left this morning for aerial surveillance duty in the Middle East.
The P-3K2 Orion surveillance will join an international mission against piracy and people and drug trafficking.
It will be operated and supported by a 55-strong team of New Zealand defence personnel.
The plane will help patrol 8.3 square kilometres of international water as part of the US-led Combined Maritime Forces.
The team will stay there for the next 12 months.
The Combined Maritime Forces is supported by 31 nations and was set up in 2002 to promote maritime security, defeat terrorism and prevent piracy and people and drug trafficking.