German military air crews are continuing to train to fly the country’s P-3C Orions, thanks in large part to a unique contract awarded by the Contracting Department at U.S. Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center (NAVSUP FLC) Norfolk. In November 2020, the NAVSUP FLC Norfolk Contracting Department awarded a $65 million contract for Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity (NETSAFA) on behalf of the German Navy. NETSAFA is the U.S. Navy’s agent for international education and training and provides support to international governments and international organizations. As a field activity of the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), NETSAFA serves as a focal point for all Security Cooperation training program issues, coordination and advice within the U.S. Navy.
According to NAVSUP FLC Norfolk Contracting Department Director Capt. Eric Stump, the P-3C contract was awarded to ESG Aerosystems for the development of training plans and the administration and execution of flight crew training for all aircraft personnel. The contract calls for classroom training, simulator training and actual flight training. The first German air crews arrived in Florida in December to begin their training. Based at Nordholz Naval Air Station on the German North Sea coast, Germany’s P-3Cs have been deployed in support of many operations, including Operation Atalanta, an anti-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean. Working either alone or in coordination with military helicopters and ships, the P-3C serves as one of the primary reconnaissance assets for the European-led counter piracy operation.
Maritime Air Command, NATO use Maritime Patrol Aircraft, including the P-3 Orion and the P-8 Poseidon, primarily to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in peacetime. The information collected from these missions increases NATO’s maritime situational awareness and contributes to stability and security of the geographic region assigned to Commander, Allied Maritime Command. In crises and war, these same assets are used to conduct anti-submarine Warfare and anti-surface warfare. The German country program manager with NETSAFA, the German military have previously trained alongside American P-3 squadrons, however, with the U.S. Navy phasing out their P-3 program, Germany needed a private company solution for hands on training in the aircraft.
Further illustrating the NAVSUP Enterprise’s robust support and involvement with this critical program, since the aircraft were first purchased by Germany, NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support (WSS) has had the responsibility for the managing the German P-3C’s sustainment supply support and the associated repair services. The NAVSUP WSS International Programs Directorate, N52, continues to serve as Germany’s advocate within the Navy’s supply system in the same capacity, and has employed unique methods to procure legacy spares for the German P-3 fleet in order to meet Germany’s goals of maintaining the aircraft through sundown. In fiscal year 2020 alone, the NAVSUP Enterprise Fleet Logistics Centers established contracts valued over $2 billion in combined supplies and services in support of NETSAFA and NETC to support continuance of their operations worldwide.