Hellenic Navy receives first modernized P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft

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Leaders from the Greece Ministry of National Defense; Hellenic Air Force, Navy and Army; Lockheed Martin and Hellenic Aerospace Industries participated in a ceremony for the delivery of the first modernized P-3 Orion. (Lockheed Martin photograph)

Representatives from the Hellenic Navy, Lockheed Martin and Hellenic Aerospace Industry hosted a ceremony May 17 at HAI’s facility near Athens, Greece, for the delivery of the first P-3B maritime patrol aircraft (interim solution aircraft) as part of the Hellenic Navy P-3B maritime patrol aircraft mid-life upgrade and modernization program implementation.

The event was attended by senior leaders from the Greek government and the Hellenic ministry of National Defense, the Hellenic Navy and Air Force, as well as representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Lockheed Martin and HAI. Local government officials also attended the ceremony.

The government-to-government agreement between the United States and Greece was announced in 2015, providing for the re-activation of one Hellenic Navy P-3B Orion maritime patrol aircraft, which is the aircraft delivered today. This agreement also includes the modernization of four Hellenic Navy P-3B aircraft through the Mid-Life Upgrade Program.

MLU kits provide an extension of service life by 15,000 flight hours. In addition, this contract provides for phased depot maintenance; a Greece indigenous mission integration and management system; new avionics; and other ancillary hardware and services.

Evangelos Apostolakis, Greece’s minister of National Defense, welcomed the delivery of the first interim solution P-3B Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the Hellenic Navy and underlined the operational benefits of their upgrading program of at a national and international level. The MoD stated that this program meets the optimal cost-effectiveness solution, underlining at the same time its contribution to the reinforcement of the domestic defense industry.

The P-3 Orion is the model in maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, and is used for homeland security, anti-piracy operations, humanitarian relief, search and rescue, intelligence gathering, antisubmarine warfare and, recently, to assist in air traffic control and natural disaster relief support. The Hellenic Navy operated the P-3 fleet for 15 years.

“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 modernized P-3s in the coming years,” said Rear Adm. Nikolaos Tsounis, chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff.

Work on the Hellenic Navy P-3s is performed at HAI facilities in Greece, as well as at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Marietta, Ga., and Greenville, S.C. Lockheed Martin is the Original Equipment Manufacturer of the P-3 Orion.

“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 Modernization Program provides state-of-the-art operational advantages to the Hellenic Navy to not only support present mission requirements, but future ones as well,” said Karmyn Norwood, vice president of International Programs for Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. “This program also exemplifies the power of partnership, from the support of the U.S. Navy and the Hellenic Navy to the outstanding work delivered by the HAI team. Together, we provide the best resources and value to Greece.”

The domestic defense industry in Greece is providing 30 percent of the overall program value, drawing considerable industrial, financial and technological benefits for the autonomous operation and support of the specific weapon system.

“Through this program, the Hellenic Aerospace Industry was given the opportunity to participate in a program of high technical and operational value,” said Zacharias Gikas, chairman of the HAI Board of Directors. “HAI salutes the delivery of this first aircraft as a significant achievement in the effort for a successful program integration. HAI management and employees will continue to effectively work together in delivering the best possible results to the Hellenic government and the Hellenic Navy.”