The Orions of the German Navy – bought once in a very priceworthy deal from the Netherlands – are to have another 15,000 flight hours of life extra. In order to make this happen Airbus Defence and Space plus Lockheed Martin will rewing the eight maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare and reconnaissance aircraft.
Lockheed Martin will produce the outer wing, centre fuselage and horizontal stabilizer in Georgia, USA, while Airbus will do the installation in Manching, Germany. The upgrade program will take eight years after which the Orions will have P-3C Update II.5 MLU-K15 status.
The Royal Netherlands Fleet Air Arm bought 13 Lockheed P-3C Orion (Update II.5) in 1983, which flew from NAS Valkenburg near The Hague. After sudden budget cuts announced in 2003 the Orions were hastily withdrawn – with the Mid-Life Update in full progress – and Valkenburg was closed. Germany bought eight of the aircraft in 2004, with Portugal buying the remaining five. The last Orion left the Netherlands in 2006.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by Airbus Defence and Space
Featured image: A German Navy (Marineflieger) Lockheed P-3C Orion Update II.5 maritime patrol aircraft at the 2008 ILA airshow at Berlin-Schönefeld, Germany (Image © Marcel Burger)