Upgrades for 5 Portuguese P-3Cs
Covering the Atlantic side of Europe out of the Azores, and sitting near the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, Portugal has a lot of maritime territory to patrol. The FAP has received a number of upgraded P-3 Orion aircraft over the years, from the US P-3Bs that became P-3Ps via upgrades etc., to a recent set of P-3Cs from The Netherlands. Maintaining their long range maritime patrol capabilities, and keeping the fleet at acceptable strength as aircraft are retired, is critical to Portugal’s ability to watch those important sea lanes.
Soon the Dutch P-3Cs will constitute Portugal’s entire P-3C fleet, as the P-3Ps are being retired. These 5 Orions will be supplemented by shorter-range CASA C-295 VIMARs – but they will also require their own capability upgrades.
Contracts & Key Events
March 4/11: Flight International offers a program update. The 1st modified P-3 CUP+ was completed by Lockheed Martin in August 2010, and was delivered from its Greenville, NC site. The 2nd aircraft arrived at Beja AB in February 2011, and the FAP expects to formally accept aircraft 14809 in March 2011. With that acceptance, Portugal reportedly plans to retire the last of 601 Squadron’s P-3Ps.
The remaining 3 refurbished P-3 CUP+ planes are being completed by OGMA in Alverca, with the $141 million upgrade project due to finish in February 2012.
Jan 3/08: Lockheed Martin announces that the Portuguese Ministry of Defense had awarded them a direct commercial sale contract valued at EUR 99.7 million (about $141 million) to upgrade the mission system avionics on the 5 ex-Netherlands P-3Cs. Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will provide a full mission system upgrade, including electronic support measures, acoustics, communications, electro-optic and infrared systems, as well as new data management software and hardware, including controls, displays and mission computers.
Systems design, development and integration work will be completed at Lockheed Martin’s Eagan-based Tactical Systems line of business, followed by equipment installation and checkout at Lockheed Martin’s Aircraft and Logistics Center in Greenville, SC. The first modernized Portuguese Air Force P-3C aircraft is scheduled to be delivered in late 2009.