The P-3 Orion is an aircraft conceived in the 1950s, which has now gained a life extension to carry out its surveillance missions in Brazilian Blue Waters. For this, Akaer replaced several elements of the wing, such as upper skins, front and rear spars, upper panels of the wing/fuselage center boxes, in addition to components from systems such as fuel and electric. This project will extend the fatigue life of the structure and allows the aircraft to continue to operate longer. Since 2018, Akaer has been working on the revitalization of the wings of the P-3AM Orion, an aircraft conceived in the 1950s, which is now gaining another ten years of useful life to operate and new impetus in carrying out its surveillance missions in Brazilian blue waters.
Akaer has technological innovation as an integral part of its everyday life and, in the case of the revitalization of the P-3AM’s wings, it couldn’t be different. From the very beginning, the project was also seen as a platform to integrate Industry 4.0 concepts and tools: the digital twin, advanced manufacturing, systems integration, among others. The work is done in São José dos Campos/SP, at Akaer’s headquarters. After the revitalization process, the wings are delivered directly to the Galeão Aeronautical Material Park (PAMA-GL) in Rio de Janeiro/RJ, where they will be installed. The first wing was delivered to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) in the first half of 2021 and is already installed on the aircraft. The second wing will be delivered later this year and the third in the second half of 2022.
Brazilian Air Force operates 9 P-3AM (Upgraded) in 2008 (12 ex-USN airframes purchased). Integrated with the CASA FITS (Fully Integrated Tactical System) utilized in antisubmarine warfare. The aircraft is responsible for the surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Brazil, which can reach 4.5 million km². The EEZ is a strip located beyond territorial waters, over which each coastal country has priority for the use of natural resources from the sea, both living and non-living, and responsibility for its environmental management, extending for up to 200 nautical miles more the area corresponding to the continental shelf. The structural revitalization upgrade project began at the end of 2018, when a team from Akaer – a company certified as Strategic Defense Company by the Brazilian Government, with national ownership control and independent management –participated in training at an American company, partner on this project.
The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engined, turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s. Lockheed based it on the L-188 Electra commercial airliner. The aircraft is easily distinguished from the Electra by its distinctive tail stinger or “MAD” boom, used for the magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) of submarines. Over the years, the aircraft has seen numerous design developments, most notably in its electronics packages. Numerous navies and air forces around the world continue to use the P-3 Orion, primarily for maritime patrol, reconnaissance, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare. A total of 757 P-3s have been built. In 2012, it joined the handful of military aircraft including the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, Lockheed C-130 Hercules and the Lockheed U-2 that the United States military has been using for more than 50 years.