PLANS BY the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) to return its P-3B Orions to operational service were revealed in an announcement by the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) on October 7. The DSCA said the US State Department has approved the P-3B aircraft overhaul and upgrade, which it is estimated will cost $500 million.
US Congress was given the required notification of the proposed contract on October 6. Greece has requested the modification and reactivation of two HAF P-3B Orions and the upgrade of up to five other P-3Bs that will include structural mid-life upgrades (MLU), phased depot maintenance (PDM), mission integration and management systems (MIMS), and new flight avionics. The MLU kits will provide service life extensions for 15,000 flight hours, plus spares, support equipment, training and other elements of programme support.
The proposed overhaul and upgrade would allow the HAF to resume operations of its P-3B aircraft for land-based maritime patrol and reconnaissance, surveillance and protection of areas of national interest. Delivery of the former US Navy P-3Bs built in the early 70s, commenced in June 1996 but were progressively retired between late 2009 and October 2012 due to austerity measures and placed in storage at Elefsis and Tanagra. Alan Warnes