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Hellenic Navy - P-3 Orion

The P-3 Orion is the standard for maritime patrol and reconnaissance, 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 US Navy provided a P-3 Orion in May 2016 in support of the Hellenic Armed Forces, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Greece, in response to a request by the US Embassy in Athens, Greece for assistance in the search of the missing Egyptian aircraft.

The HAF had five P-3Bs in inventory that had been in service since 1996. Assigned to 353 Squadron based at Elefsis near Athens, all of these aircraft had been in storage pending a decision on the proposed Mid Life Upgrades (MLU). The modernization plan is a 7-year program and includes the maintenance and support of five of the six P-3B Orion turbo-prop aircraft transfered to Greece by the United States during 1991 and 1992.

The State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Greece for P-3B aircraft overhaul and upgrade as well as associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $500 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on October 6, 2014.

The Government of Greece requested a possible sale for modification and reactivation of two (2) P-3B aircraft, and the upgrade of up to five (5) P-3B aircraft that would include structural Mid Life Upgrades (MLU), Phased Depot Maintenance (PDM), Mission Integration and Management Systems (MIMS), and new flight avionics. The MLU kits would provide service life extensions for 15,000 flight hours, spare and repair parts, repair and return, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, US Government and contractor logistics, engineering, and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $500 million.

This proposed sale would contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally. The proposed sale for overhaul and upgrade would allow the Hellenic Navy (HN) to resume operations of its P-3B aircraft for land-based maritime patrol and reconnaissance, surveillance and protection of areas of national interest. The HN would have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support would not alter the basic military balance in the region. The principal contractor was Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Marietta, Georgia. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale required multiple trips to Greece by U.S. Government and contractor representatives for a period of seven years for delivery, system checkout, training, and program reviews.

In February 2015, Greece has selected the Maritime Mission Integration and Management System (M2IMS) from Interoperability Systems International (ISI) as the aircraft's new tactical mission system. Specialized in developing tactical datalink solutions, ISI has in the past provided the mission management systems for the maritime surveillance configured Fokker 50 aircraft of the Republic of Singapore Air Force. A modular and sensor agnostic system, ISI's latest M2IMS solution integrates and manages the new sensor suite on the Greek navy's P-3B aircraft when upgraded. This includes a new radar, the aircraft's EO/IR sensor together with ESM, AIS and ASW equipment such as a MAD and acoustic sensors. Weapon interfaces, datalinks and navigation systems would also be integrated into the aircraft's new tactical mission system. The M2IMS equipped aircraft would have the ability to interface and exchange tactical information via datalinks with ground based C2 centers and other airborne or naval assets while the data recorded by the system can be used for post mission evaluation.

In February 2016, the US Navy awarded Lockheed Martin Aeronautics a not-to-exceed $141.9 million firm-fixed-price, undefinitized contract to modernize the P-3B aircraft for the government of Greece. This contract provides for the reactivation of one Hellenic Navy P-3B aircraft and the procurement of software and hardware kits for the upgrade/modernization for a total of four Hellenic Navy P-3B aircraft. The Mid-Life Upgrade, or MLU, kits would 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.

The deal has caused the reaction of opposition parties and especially of the centrist To Potami and its leader Stavros Theodorakis. Theodorakis is quoted as saying in regards to the contract. It is the largest weapons program over the last years, at a time when the economic crisis is at its worst and state funds are literally empty.

The Hellenic Navy, Lockheed Martin and Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) hosted a ceremony 24 July 2016 at HAIs facilities to recognize the official launch of the Hellenic Navy P-3B maritime patrol aircraft modernization and upgrade program. On July 13, the first of two Hellenic Navy P-3B Orions were successfully transferred from Elefsis Air Base to HAIs facilities at Tanagra, Greece, north of Athens. Attending todays ceremony were leaders representing the Hellenic Defense Ministry, the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, the Hellenic Navy, the Hellenic Air Force, the GDDIA, the US Embassy in Greece, Lockheed Martin and HAI, as well as local authorities.

During the current difficult and critical times for Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean, the reconstitution of the operational capabilities of this program is a defense priority for the Ministry and the Hellenic Armed Forces, said Dimitris Vitsas, the Alernate Minister of National Defense for Greece. In addition, the government-to-government agreement between Greece and the United States guarantees absolute transparency, fair and reasonable program cost, the participation of the Hellenic Defense Industry and provides unique operational capabilities for the Hellenic Armed Forces.

The selection of P-3B and its upgrade is the most advantageous solution for the country. With the criterion of fulfilling the operational requirements of the Hellenic Navy, the P-3 with the MLU program through the government agreement of Greece and the USA offers the optimal combination of cost-effectiveness, said Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff. The Hellenic Navy was deprived the services of a maritime patrol aircraft. The launch of the modernization and upgrade works of the P-3B aircraft of the Hellenic Navy covers an operational requirement of vital importance and this is taking place with the largest possible Greek added value. commented Vice Admiral George Giakoumakis, chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff.

We are pleased that the Greek government and the Hellenic Navy have selected the P-3 Orion MLU to support its maritime patrol needs, said Dennys Plessas, vice president of Business Development Initiatives at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. The P-3 MLU delivers capability and value to the Hellenic Navy. Greeces domestic defense industry will absorb approximately 30 percent of the programs value, driving significant industrial, economic and technological advantages for the autonomous operation and support of this mission system.

In addition to the HAI facilities near Athens, in Schimatari, Greece, work on these P-3Bs would be performed in Marietta, Georgia; Greenville, South Carolina; and Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States. With this program, HAI participates at a program of critically important technical and operational value, said Zacharias Gkikas, chairman of the Board of Directors for HAI. HAI welcomes the launch of the program. HAIs management and employees will work effectively together for to deliver the best possible results to the Greek government and the Hellenic Navy.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 125,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. Hellenic Aerospace Industry S.A., established on 1975, is the leading aerospace company of Greece, having as a mission to deliver defense and aerospace services and products to the Hellenic State, as well as to a wide range of domestic and international customers of both military and civil markets.



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