Modernised Hellenic P-3

Officials from the Greek Ministry of National Defence, Hellenic Air Force, Navy and Army, Lockheed Martin and Hellenic Aerospace Industries pictured in front of the first modernised P-3 Orion on May 17, 2019.
Lockheed Martin

The Elliniki Polemikó Naftikó (Hellenic Navy) received the first upgraded Lockheed P-3B Orion maritime surveillance aircraft on May 17, 2019.

The aircraft was handed over at a ceremony at Hellenic Aerospace Industry’s facility outside Athens in front of representatives from the Greek government, Hellenic Navy, Lockheed Martin and HAI.

The modernised aircraft will be jointly operated by the Polemikó Naftikó and the Elliniki Polemikí Aeroporía (Hellenic Air Force).

The Polemikó Naftikó acquired ten former US Navy aircraft, which entered service in June 1996, but the six active aircraft remaining in the fleet were withdrawn from service, pending overhaul and modernisation, in 2009.

A government-to-government agreement between Greece and the United States for the reactivation of the first aircraft, known as an interim solution upgrade, was announced in 2015. The agreement was modified to cover the modernisation of a further four aircraft, through a midlife upgrade (MLU) programme, in November 2017.

The MLU kits are supplied by Lockheed Martin and will provide a service life extension of 15,000 flight hours. The work, together with phased depot maintenance, integration of a Greek mission management system and new avionics, will be performed in Greece by HAI and by Lockheed Martin at Marietta, Georgia, and Greenville, South Carolina, in the United States.

Speaking at the handover of the first aircraft, Rear Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis, Chief of General Staffof the Polemikó Naftikó, said: “The Hellenic Navy needed enhancements and improvements for its maritime patrol aircraft. The delivery of the 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.”

The Greek defence and aerospace industry will reportedly provide 30% of the overall value of the programme.

Lockheed Martin’s Vice-President of International Programmes for Air Mobility and Maritime Missions, Karmyn Norwood, said: “Today we are especially proud, as the delivery of this first aircraft represents an important step in enhancing Greece’s maritime patrol capability. The P-3 MLU and avionics modernisation programme provides state-of-theart advantages to the Hellenic Navy to not only support present mission requirements, but future ones, as well.”

During their previous service in Greece, the P-3Bs were operated by 353 MNS ‘Triena’, part of the Polemikí Aeroporía’s 112 Pteriga Makhis, from Elefsis Air Base.