P-3 Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft will fly at least two more decades

FARNBOROUGH, England, July 22, 2004. With 450 P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft and variants in front-line service with 18 operators in 16 countries, Lockheed Martin sees significant opportunities for sustainment, modification, and upgrade of the worldwide P-3 fleet over the next two decades.

"We expect that the Orion will be operational with the U.S. Navy for at least the next 15 years, and many other countries will be flying their P-3s 20-to-25 years from now," said Orville Prins, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company vice president of business development. "We will continue to support the worldwide fleet through a number of sustainment, logistics support, service life extension, and modernization programs. Lockheed Martin has the expertise and capabilities to provide operators a range of options that will fit their funding priorities."

The P-3 is regarded as the world standard in maritime patrol aircraft. This aircraft, with its highly reliable four-engine propulsion system, proven structure, and long range provides phenomenal mission flexibility. Its primary roles can be grouped into three general categories: engagement missions such as antisubmarine and antisurface warfare; over water or overland surveillance missions; and network-centric warfare missions, such as command and control and communications relay. Additionally, the capabilities of the P-3 make it an ideal platform for a number of secondary missions, such as drug interdiction, firefighting and electronic combat.

Lockheed Martin has extensive experience in recapitalizing existing assets. A P-3 Service Life Assessment Program was recently completed to verify the service life remaining in the P-3 fleets of the U.S. Navy, Canada and several other Orion operators. The tools developed under this program will allow a detailed assessment of any operator's fleet to determine airframe fatigue life remaining, and help develop an optimum plan for fleet longevity and upgrade.

Upgrade options include the P-3C Antisurface Warfare Improvement Program (AIP) mission system that takes full advantage of commercial open architecture technologies; life extension kits -- new wings and a new horizontal tail -- that effectively zero-times the lifting structure of the aircraft and can provide up to 20,000 hours of additional fatigue life; and all-glass digital flight stations. Each of these modification and upgrade efforts has been successfully implemented over the last few years for current P-3 operators.

Lockheed Martin is under contract with the U.S. Navy to develop a three- phased Prime Vendor Support (PVS) program for the service's fleet of P-3s, similar to the highly successful PVS program for the S-3 Viking carrier-based multimission aircraft. This program is anticipated to greatly improve operational readiness and reliability and reduce ownership costs of the Navy's Orion fleet which, with more than 250 aircraft, is the largest in the world.

The role of the P-3 has evolved from a Cold War era antisubmarine warfare- only capability to its current ability to conduct overland surveillance and targeting. The P-3 proved to be an integral and effective asset of battle group operations in the Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraqi conflicts.

A well structured and managed mission system upgrade approach -- called Phased Capability Upgrade (PCU) -- ensures that new technologies are easily and effectively inserted into the P-3's open architecture system. The PCU mission system methodology ensures customers will always have the latest technology and in a cost-effective and timely fashion. It also allows the Orion to carry the latest weapons, such as SLAM, SLAM-ER, and the new stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM). In addition, new capabilities such as Link 16, integrated tactical picture, real time image transfer are on the drawing board or are being tested. The P-3 with the PCU-based mission system will provide operators with full network centric warfare capabilities and the most effective ISR platform to support 21st century military requirements.

In addition to the U.S. Navy, P-3s are operated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (formerly the U.S. Customs Service) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The air forces or navies of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Spain, South Korea and Thailand all operate P-3s. Canada operates the aircraft as the CP-140 Aurora and a specialized derivative, the CP-140A Arcturus.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., a business area of Lockheed Martin, is a leader in the design, research and development, systems integration, production and support of advanced military aircraft and related technologies. Its customers include the military services of the United States and allied countries throughout the world. Products include the F-16, F/A-22, F-35 JSF, F-117, C-5, C-130, C-130J, P-3, S-3 and U-2. The company produces major components for the F-2 fighter, and is a co-developer of the C-27J tactical transport and T-50 advanced jet trainer.

For more information, see www.lockheedmartin.com or www.lmaeronautics.com.


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Mil & Aero Magazine

August 2015
Volume 26, Issue 8
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