Pakistan’s P-3 Orion Maritime Aircraft – and their Harpoons
Pakistan’s location on the Indian Ocean next to the Persian Gulf, and its rivalry with India, ensure that its maritime patrol and strike capabilities will need to operate across a wide expanse of ocean. Maritime patrol aircraft are critical to that effort, because of the surveillance area that a single plane can cover. Like India, Pakistan relies on a mix. In its case, that mix includes converted Fokker F27 twin-turboprops, a couple of early-model Dassault Atlantiques, and a high-end force of 2 P-3C Orion aircraft, reactivated in 2006. The 4-engine Orions have much better range than Pakistan’s other maritime patrol aircraft, which widens that country’s sphere of naval influence.
Subsequent orders have served to detail the modernization work for Pakistan’s Orion fleet, via a deal for 8 more P-3 aircraft, refurbishment orders, and the accompanying orders for AGM-84 Harpoon missiles that can attack naval or land targets.
Contracts and Key Events
2009 – 2012
In late 2004, Portuguese aircraft refitter OGMA was chosen by Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA to restore and refit Pakistan’s 2 remaining aircraft to the P-3C Update II.5 level. Those planes were reactivated in September 2006. In addition, Pakistan was preparing to buy 8 US Navy surplus P-3C aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales program – a sale that went through.
While the P-3 Orion and Harpoon missile orders are separate deals, the Harpoon is the Orion’s critical surface warfare capability. A P-3 without Harpoon missiles is a patrol aircraft and a threat to submarines. One with Harpoon missiles can become a threat to any surface ship within the wide arc of its range – which in Pakistan’s case extends to the Strait of Hormuz, and across a wide swath of the Indian Ocean.
“In a significant development, the United States has expressed willingness to provide Pakistan with another three to four [P-3C] maritime surveillance aircraft… during the 21st meeting of the US-Pakistan Defence Consultative Group (DCG), which was held in Rawalpindi on December 3-4.”
Pakistan is also reportedly looking for another used FFG-7 frigate, as a companion to PNS Alamgir.
Feb 21/12: P-3Cs inducted. Pakistan’s Navy inducts 2 refurbished P-3C Orions, during a ceremony at PNS Mehran, near Karachi. That makes 2 now. It would be 4, but jihadists destroyed the first 2 during an attack on PNS Mehran – q.v. June 15-17/11 entries. IBN Live.
P-3Cs #3-4 inducted
Dec 27/11: Support. Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY receives an $8.4 million firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification in support of the Pakistan [P-3] Upgrade Program (PUP). This modification includes Phase Depot Maintenance Phase I for aircraft 505; removal and replacement of engines for aircraft 505 and 511; and support costs associated with a schedule extension to the PUP Plus effort.
Work will be performed in Greenville, SC (65%), and Owego, NY (35%), and is expected to be complete in May 2013. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages the contract, as Pakistan’s agent (N00019-06-D-0012).
June 17/11: Reports surface that the USA will be replacing the 2 refurbished Pakistani P-3C sea control aircraft destroyed at PNS Mehran. A number of these reports cite the admonitions of a mixed opinion-news column by the Washington Post’s David Ignatius. On the other hand, some newspapers like Pakistan’s DAWN are citing “diplomatic sources” as backing for the news about the Orions. DAWN is a good paper, but the backing for these reports remains murky, depending on what they mean by “diplomatic sources.” Ignatius op-ed | Associated Press of Pakistan | DAWN |
May 22/10: When Taliban attack! Pakistani Taliban/al-Qaeda guerrillas armed with automatic weapons and RPGs infiltrate Pakistan Naval Station Mehran, setting off a 15 hour battle. Casualties of the small-group raid include both of the upgraded P-3Cs delivered to Pakistan thus far, which are left as smoking wrecks.
Pakistan will reportedly ask the USA to replace the 2 lost aircraft, but after discovering Osama Bin Laden sheltered in Pakistan, and listening to Pakistan take huge steps toward becoming a Chinese client, the mood in America isn’t exactly receptive. To that, add 2 more significant concerns, created by the attack itself.
One is statements by Pakistani officials that 11 Chinese engineers were at the base, and escaped unharmed. It isn’t clear what they were doing there, and their proximity to modernized American sea control aircraft could well become another friction point between the USA and Pakistan. The second issue is that Pakistan’s inability to secure Mehran, and difficulty in recovering control, leads to even more disturbing questions about the safety of its nuclear weapons. Nor is the idea of such attacks far fetched. Bradford University’s Prof. Shaun Gregory says that nuclear facilities have been attacked at least 3 times in the past 5 years, at Wah, Sargodha, and Kamra. See Pakistan’s Daily Times | DAWN (op-ed) | Express Tribune (op-ed) | The Nation | The News International || India’s Economic Times | Seattle Times | Wall St. Journal | WIRED Danger Room || Indian SAAG analysis.
Taliban attack PNS Mehran, destroy 2 new P-3Cs
Oct 22/10: P-3C. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Eagan, MN receives a $7.3 million contract modification for indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity services in support of the Pakistan Navy’s 7-plane P-3C upgrade program. Support to be provided includes labor, aircraft hangar costs, and acoustic receiver technical refresh program report resolution.
Work will be performed in Greenville, SC (80%), and Eagan, MN (20%), and is expected to be complete in November 2011. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages this contract (N00019-06-D-0012).
June 1/10: P-3C. The first 2 refurbished P-3Cs are inducted at PNS Mehran, Karach, Pakistan. All 8 aircraft are scheduled to arrive by 2012.
The US Embassy in Pakistan adds that over the last 3 years, U.S. civilian and security assistance to Pakistan has totaled more than $4 billion. It has included civilian aid, as well as 14 F-16 fighter aircraft, 10 Mi-17 helicopters, 2 Bell 412EP helicopters, 5 fast patrol boats, 115 M109 self-propelled Howitzers, more than 450 vehicles for Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, hundreds of night vision goggles, day/night scopes, radios, and thousands of protective vests and first-aid items for Pakistan’s security forces.
First 2 P-3Cs inducted
May 24/10: P-3C. Small business qualifier American Valley Aviation, Inc. in Orange Park, FL receives a $5.5 million firm-fixed-price contract to refurbish wing and weapons bay pylons in support of the Pakistan Navy P-3 upgrade program, and includes the addition of digital stores management systems for Pakistan’s 7 P-3 aircraft.
Work will be performed in Orange Park, FL, and is expected to be complete in September 2011. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-4, by the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-10-C-0244).
April 30/10: P-3C. The U.S. Navy formally transfers 2 P-3Cs to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, who accepts them in a ceremony at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL. US Navy.
Jan 7/10: Deliver #2. Lockheed Martin delivers the 2nd upgraded Pakistani P-3C, at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, FL, for subsequent transfer to Pakistan. Lockheed Martin delivered the first plane in October 2009. Lockheed Martin | Flight International.
Dec 23/09: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Eagan, MN receives a $34.2 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract, adding funding for Pakistani P-3C mission system spares.
Work will be performed in Eagan, MN (75%), Oldsmar, FL (20%), and Manassas, VA (5%), and is expected to be complete in September 2011. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages this contract (N00019-06-D-0012).
Nov 23/09: P-3Cs. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Eagan, MN receives a $4.4 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-06-D-0012) to upgrade 7 P-3C aircraft for the government of Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales program. This modification will replace the airplanes’ obsolete and unsustainable avionics systems with modern equipment.
Work will be performed in Eagan, MN (70%), and Greenville, SC (30%), and is expected to be complete in February 2013. The Naval Air Warfare Center in Lakehurst, NJ manages this contract.
2004 – 2008
June 5/08: Support. An $8.1 million indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with an estimated value of $8,134,542 for engineering, logistics, and technical services in support of the Harpoon Weapon Systems and SLAM-ER Missile System for the U.S. Navy, and for the Governments of Australia, Canada, Chile, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates under the Foreign Military Sales Program.
May 31/07: Support. A $8.1 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0027) for the procurement of a Harpoon Missile Subsystem Test Set Weapon Station upgrade, interim spares, installation and checkout, and applicable training for the Government of Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales Program.
Work will be performed in St. Charles, MO (34.02%); Dallas, TX (28.89%); St. Louis, MO (18.46%); Oklahoma City, OK (7.34%); St. Louis, MO (3.43%); Yorba Linda, CA (3.19%); Chatsworth, CA (1.20%); Englewood, CO (0.70%); Austin, TX (0.60%); and various locations across the United States (2.17%) and is expected to be complete in January 2009. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD.
April 13/07: Training. Small business qualifier Delex Systems, Inc. in, Vienna, VA received a $7.5 million firm-fixed-priced order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement (N00019-03-G-0015) for the development, documentation, testing and delivery of a turnkey Harpoon Tactical Training Program for the Pakistan Navy under the Foreign Military Sales Program.
Work will be performed in Vienna, VA (95%), and Karachi, Pakistan (5%), and is expected to be complete in April 2012. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.
March 30/07: Harpoon. A $191.4 million firm-fixed-priced contract for Harpoon missiles combines US and foreign military sales.
Included in the purchase is 30 Harpoon Tactical Block II Encapsulated All-Up Rounds for Pakistan, comprising $33.27% of the total order at $63.7 million. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-07-C-0037).
Feb 13/07: P-3C. Lockheed Martin announces a $186.5 million Foreign Military Sale contract to continue providing mission system upgrades and support for 7 Pakistani P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft. See also the March 3/06 entry, which describes the same contract, but doesn’t add the firm’s project timeline update.
The Pakistan Navy’s P-3C Upgrade Program began in March 2006. The 1st modified aircraft was delivered in January 2007, and the 2nd refurbished aircraft is reportedly set for induction in March 2007. Lockheed Martin release | Express India.
1st P-3C handover
Sept 13/06: P-3s. The Pakistani government announces that 2 existing Pakistani P-3s, which had been grounded since 2001, were reactivated after a refit by Lockheed Martin and Portugal’s OGMA. The two P-3C aircraft were manufactured in 1990, and were grounded when their overhaul period came. A 2004 contract with Portugal’s OGMA aimed to restore them to service at the P-3C Update II.5 level.
A contract to re-activate them was signed between Lockheed and U.S Navy in January 2005, and maintenance work on both the aircraft was undertaken concurrently by Lockheed and Pakistan Navy personnel and technicians from OGMA. Defense Talk.
OGMA refit complete
May 31/06: The Defense Security Cooperation Agency officially announces [PDF] Pakistan’s request to buy 50 UGM-84L (submarine-launched), 50 RGM-84L (surface-launched), and 30 AGM-84L (air-launched) Block II Harpoon missiles; 5 Encapsulated Harpoon Command Launch Systems; 115 containers; missile modifications; training devices; spare and repair parts; technical support; support equipment; personnel training and training equipment; technical data and publications; U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics support. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $370 million.
Read “Ahoy! Pakistan Requesting Harpoon Missiles” for more information concerning the purchase, and the Block II Harpoon.
DSCA request: 130 Harpoon Block IIs
March 3/06: P-3s. Lockheed Martin Corp. Maritime Systems and Sensors in St. Paul, MN receives a $186.5 million ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-06-D-0012) for the fabrication, integration and testing of 7 P-3 aircraft missions systems for the Government of Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Greensville, SC (90%) and Eagan, MN (10%) and is expected to be complete in July 2011.
This modification includes a fully capable Inverse Synthetic-Aperture Radar ISAR/SAR, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), acoustic system, Electro-Optical/Infra-Red system, communication system and Inter-Communication System (ICS). In addition, this modification includes the installation of upgraded P-3 mission systems into the Orion aircraft.
P-3 main contract
Feb 12/06: Harpoon. A $15.8 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0027), exercising an option for 10 Harpoon Tactical Block II Grade B All-Up-Round (AUR) missiles and 10 MK631 Canister AUR Containers for the Government of Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales Program.
Work will be performed in St. Charles, MO (50.46%); McKinney, TX (15.14%); Toledo, OH (5.93%); United Kingdom (5.28%); Huntsville, AL (3.86%); Clearwater, FL (3.79%); Galena, KS (2.33%); Elkton, MD (2.19%); Kirwood, MO (2%); Middletown, CT (1.83%), and other various locations throughout the United States (7.19%), and is expected to be complete in February 2007.
May 6/05: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Pakistan’s official request for 40 AGM-84L (air-launched) and 20 RGM-84L (surface-launched) Grade B Canister HARPOON Block II missiles; containers; missile modifications; training devices; spare and repair parts; technical support; support equipment; personnel training and training equipment; technical data and publications; U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $180 million, and Boeing will be the prime contractor.
“Pakistan intends to use the purchase to upgrade and modernize its existing HARPOON missile capability. The Pakistani Navy currently has AGM-84 Block I air/surface/subsurface launch capability.”
DSCA request: 40 Harpoon Block IIs
Nov 16/04: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Pakistan’s official request to buy 8 P-3C aircraft with T-56 turboprop engines, communications equipment, training devices, medical services, support and test equipment, engineering technical services, supply support, operation and maintenance training, documentation, spare/repair parts, publications, documentation, personnel training, training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related support elements. The estimated cost is $970 million. The DSCA adds that:
“The command-and-control capabilities of these aircraft will improve Pakistan’s ability to restrict the littoral movement of terrorists along Pakistan’s southern border and ensure Pakistan’s overall ability to maintain integrity of their borders. Pakistan intends to use the proposed purchase to develop a long needed fleet of maritime and border surveillance aircraft. The addition of these aircraft will provide Pakistan with search surveillance, and control capability in support of maritime interdiction operations and increase their ability to support the U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom Operations; anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare capabilities; and a control capability over land against transnational terrorists and narcotics smugglers. The modernization will enhance the capabilities of the Pakistani Navy and support its regional influence and meet its legitimate self-defense needs. Pakistan is capable of absorbing and maintaining these additional aircraft in its inventory.”
The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Company of Greenville, SC.
DSCA request: 8 P-3C
- The AMARC Experience – P-3 Orions for Pakistan. AMARC is also known as “the Boneyard.” Aircraft stored there are either reactivated, or used for spare parts.
- Retired Indian Commodore RS Vasan – The impact of induction of the P3C Orion Aircraft on the Indian Navy’s Preparedness: An Assessment
- DID – Ships Ahoy! The Harpoon Missile Family
- Defense News (Jan 30/??) – Pakistan Navy To Boost Air Surveillance Capability