Lockheed Martin Delivers ‘Interim’ Solution Aircraft in Advance of Four Upgrades
On 17 May a ceremony at the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) facility near Athens marked the handover by Lockheed Martin of a Hellenic Navy P-3B ORION maritime patrol aircraft as part of the mid-life upgrade and modernisation programme agreed between the Greek and US governments in 2015.
The first ‘interim solution’ aircraft is to be followed by the modernisation of four further P-3B aircraft through the Mid-Life Update (MLU) programme. MLU kits provide an extension of service life by 15,000 flight hours. In addition, the contract provides for phased depot maintenance; an indigenous Greek mission integration and management system; new avionics; and other ancillary hardware and services.
“The Hellenic Navy needed enhancements and improvements for its maritime patrol aircraft. The delivery of this first aircraft will cover, initially, an operational requirement of vital importance, while the Hellenic Navy prepares for the delivery of the fully modernised P-3s in the coming years,” commented Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff, Rear-Adm. Nikolaos Tsounis.
The Ministry of National Defence (MoND) stated the programme meets the optimal cost-effectiveness solution, underlining at the same time its contribution to reinforcement of the domestic defence industry. The Navy has operated a fleet of P-3 aircraft for 15 years.
Work on Greek P-3s is performed at HAI facilities in Greece, and at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Marietta, GA and Greenville, SC. The Greek defence industry provides 30% of overall programme value, drawing considerable industrial, financial and technological benefit for the autonomous operation and support of the specific weapon system.
“[….] the delivery of this first aircraft represents an important step in enhancing Greece’s maritime patrol capability. The P-3 MLU and Avionics Modernisation Program provides state-of-the-art operational advantages to the Hellenic Navy to not only support present mission requirements, but future ones as well,” observed Vice President of International Programs for Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin, Karmyn Norwood. “This programme also exemplifies the power of partnership, from the support of the US Navy and the Hellenic Navy to the outstanding work delivered by the HAI team. Together, we provide the best resources and value to Greece.”
“Through this programme, the Hellenic Aerospace Industry was given the opportunity to participate in a programme of high technical and operational value,” added Chairman of the HAI Board of Directors, Zacharias Gikas. “HAI salutes the delivery of this first aircraft as a significant achievement in the effort for a successful programme integration.”