The Portuguese government has authorized the Portuguese Air Force to acquire the entire inventory of the German P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft fleet for €45 million. The deal includes six aircraft, Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) sets, spare parts, support equipment and test benches, as well as flight simulators and tactical procedures. The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engined, turboprop anti-submarine, search and rescue 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; it is easily distinguished from the Electra by its distinctive tail stinger or “MAD” boom, used for the magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) of submarines.
The deal is a good example of cooperation between NATO allies. The German government is pleased to be able to transfer the P-3C Orions to Portugal, where they will continue to serve in the defense of Europe. The acquisition of the German P-3C Orion fleet is a significant investment by the Portuguese government in its national defense. The aircraft will provide the Portuguese Air Force with a much-needed capability to conduct maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare missions. The deal is also a sign of the strong relationship between Portugal and Germany. The acquisition of the German P-3C Orion fleet is a major boost for the Portuguese Air Force.
The aircraft will provide the force with a much-needed capability to conduct maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare missions. The deal is also a sign of the strong relationship between Portugal and Germany.Here are some additional details about the deal:
- The aircraft will be purchased in a “whole package deal” concept, which means that Portugal will receive everything it needs to operate the fleet, including spare parts, support equipment, and training.
- The deal is expected to be completed in early 2024.
- The P-3C Orions will be based at the Portuguese Air Force Base in Beja.
The Portuguese Air Force currently operates four five P-3C CUP+ Orion (ex Royal Netherlands Navy) operated by 601 Squadron “Lobos”, based in Beja Air Base, which are reaching the end of their service life. The acquisition of the German fleet will allow the Portuguese Air Force to continue to operate this important aircraft type for many years to come. German Navy operates four P-3C CUP+ (ex-Royal Netherlands Navy, originally bought eight machines); based at NAS Nordholz, Marinefliegergeschwader 3 Graf Zeppelin. The German Navy has also periodically contributed a P-3 to address the piracy problem.