Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Status Of The German P-3C Program

Our next speaker is Cmdr. Bjorn Malmus from the German Navy.

The German Navy has eight P-3C Capabilities Upgrade Program (CUP) aircraft. The GN recently bought an ex-US Navy P-3C Update I aircraft for maintenance, including propulsion, airframe, and avionics. Having this extra aircraft frees up aircraft for operational use. The GN now has a full mission simulator. The GN also beefed up its mission support system to include automated workflow, mass storage software and hardware, ESM ground support, EO/IR support, acoustic ground support, and a flight planning system. Much of this equipment is deployable.

Aircraft fleet: four aircraft are in depot, one aircraft has been cannibalized and down since 2006, one aircraft is in ISIS, and that leaves two aircraft for operations (one at home and one deployed to Djibouti for counter-piracy operations).

Challenges: The GN has excessive SDLM turnaround times with an unexpectedly high number of corrosion findings; long lead times for structural components; low reliability of powerplants; fuel leaks -- but is getting better with a new process (that was discussed earlier in the conference); and Kapton wiring replacement.

Current upgrade programs: TCAS CVR Mode S; HF Link 11 radios (AN/ARC-243 and AN/ACQ-8); EO/IR sensor -- going to MX-20 HD; ESM upgrades; an AIS stand-alone solution; an TCDL stand-alone solution; several avionics system replacements; and digital engine display in the cockpit. All of these upgrades are funded and will be installed in the next two-or-three years.

Future Challenges: Sustainment vs. Rewinging -- A long-term sustainment study is underway to see how the GN can achieve an additional 15,000 flight hours that involves sustainment options or buying new wings. This study is due for completion next year and the German government will make a decision after that.

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