July 25, 2016 - The Hellenic Navy, Lockheed Martin and Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) hosted a ceremony today at HAI's facilities here 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 HAI's facilities at Tanagra, Greece, north of Athens. Attending today's 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.
In February 2016, the U. S. 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.
"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."
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 will 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 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.
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.
"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. Greece's domestic defense industry will absorb approximately 30 percent of the program's 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 will 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. HAI's management and employees will work effectively together for to deliver the best possible results to the Greek government and the Hellenic Navy."