Tom Pillion, the director of international programs US Navy's Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Program Office (PMA-290) at Naval Air Systems Command, is now speaking. PMA-290 is one of the largest program office in NAVAIR.
He noted that NAVAIR has to keep the P-3 fleet viable throughout the rest of its life, but there are no new-start upgrade programs planned. In FY12, PMA-290 is losing funding for P-3 support.
Program Issues: How best to support international P-3 users during and after the US Navy transition to the P-8 platform as well as long-term international support.
NAVAIR maintains a Transition Management Plan (TMP) for out-of-inventory aircraft systems. This plan begins five years out from the out-of-inventory date and a number of issues are looked at and planned for.
PMA-290 recognized a changing climate with tighter budgets and Congressional oversight and a shrinking workforce and an unpredictable future. The office has developed a proactive plan for going forward, particularly concentrating on international operators.
Pillion then turned the microphone over to Cmdr. Kurt Mueller, who is in charge of the P-3 Union, which is an international group that has come together to solve common P-3 support issues.
One of the issue with the P-3 Union is third-party transfer restrictions (i.e. ITAR rules). This issue is moderated by PMA-290.
The group has its own password-protected website through NAVAIR, complete with several discussion threads for the entire group. The page also features an individual country forum page. Publications are not being distributed through this forum, although that is a possible growth item.