L-3 Wins $104M for P-3C SMIP Refurb Work
Extra effort ha been required to preserve the USA’s P-3C Orion maritime surveillance & patrol aircraft in light of airframes that were wearing out, coupled with increased demand for the plane that includes overland operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, radar upgrades, and even weapons upgrades. Lockheed has even opened a new production line for the international fleet to cover wings that have to be replaced. Its 737-based successor the P-8A MMA, will not begin to enter service until 2011 at the earliest, and UAV supplementation via a Maritime version of Global Hawk or a successor system like the BAMS is still at least a couple of years away.
In line with the USA’s efforts to preserve and upgrade its shrinking P-3C fleet, L-3 Communications Integrated Systems LP in Greenville, TX received a $104.1 ceiling-priced modification to previously awarded firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contract N00019-05-D-0008. It exercises an option for the P-3C Sustainment, Modification and Installation Program (SMIP). Work will be performed in Greenville, TX (50%); Waco, TX (25%); and Birmingham, AL (25%), and is expected to be complete in December 2006. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.
UPDATE: Almost 2 months later, L-3 IS notes that:
“The SMIP program provides for an intensive depot level process for P-3 airframe and component inspection and deficiency identification and correction to ensure safe and reliable operation, as well as to enhance the aircraft service life expectancy to sustain inventory levels throughout the service period.
Work will be performed on all types, models and series of P-3 aircraft in the 164-aircraft U.S. Navy fleet, as well as P-3 aircraft supported through U.S. Navy-administered foreign military sales programs.”
This work includes:
- P-3 Special Structural Inspections (SSIs);
- Enhanced Special Structural Inspections (ESSIs);
- Fabrication and delivery of Special Structural Inspection Kits (SSI-Ks);
- Phased Depot Maintenance (PDM); and
- Modification/Installation Programs (MIPs).
L-3 notes that they recently delivered the 14th refurbished P-3 aircraft (out of 28) to the U.S. Navy as part of an existing ESSI program. Future sustainment tasks on additional P-3 aircraft are likely to be included as part of SMIP.
L-3 IS has more than 50 years of aircraft modification experience and has modified more than 300 P-3 aircraft for many customers including the U.S. Navy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Greece and Canada. Continuing programs include major tactical system upgrades for the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Republic of Korea’s Navy P-3s. L-3 IS recently completed modernization of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fleet of AP-3Cs under a program designated Sea Sentinel. DID has mentioned that program, which did not go entirely smoothly and was late but was completed satisfactorily. Note that E-Systems was eventually merged into L-3 IS.
UPDATE: Good eye to CDT/PFC Riaz Zaidi, US Army. My original source had listed the ship as DDG 54, but he noticed that the profile was of a Ticonderoga Class ship – and closer examination of the enlarged photo says he’s 100% right. So the ship depicted isn’t the DDG 54 destroyer (USS Curtis Wilbur), it’s the CG 54 cruiser (USS Antietam).