The A-4K Kahu is an improved A-4K Skyhawk, the result of a major upgrade program called PROJECT KAHU for the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The objective of the project was to give the Skyhawk similar capabilities to a modern fighter like the F-16 or F/A-18. The nose was revised to accommodate the Westinghouse APG-66(NZ) radar, and the type received a new Ferranti HUD, glass cockpit, HOTAS control system, new INS, chaff and flare dispensers, and provisions for the AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missile, Laser-Guided Bombs, and AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missile.
The A-4K Kahu is a Ground Attack Aircraft available to ANZAC and BLUFOR decks. The Kahu is largely an improved A-4K Skyhawk with significantly better ECM and two AGM-65G Maverick missiles which are both more powerful and accurate than the AGM-65B carried by the baseline A-4K. The Maverick missiles make the A-4K Kahu ideal for hunting top of the line REDFOR tanks and for spot removal of heavily armored or high priority targets. The Kahu's improved ECM makes the aircraft much more survivable against long range SAMs and AAMs, though a fighter escort is still recommended to deal with enemy aircraft as the A-4K has no air-to-air missile compliment.