Hellenic Navy Receives First Modernized P-3 Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft
(Source: Lockheed Martin; issued May 17, 2019)
Senior officials from the Greek Ministry of National Defense, the Hellenic Air Force, Navy and Army, Lockheed Martin and Hellenic Aerospace Industries participated in a May 17 ceremony for the delivery of the first modernized P-3 Orion. (LM photo)
ATHENS, Greece --- Representatives from the Hellenic Navy, Lockheed Martin and Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) hosted a ceremony on today at HAI’s facility near Athens, Greece, for the delivery of the first P-3B maritime patrol aircraft (interim solution aircraft) as part of the Hellenic Navy P-3B maritime patrol aircraft mid-life upgrade and modernization program implementation.
The event was attended by senior leaders from the Greek government and the Hellenic ministry of National Defense, the Hellenic Navy and Air Force, as well as representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Lockheed Martin and HAI. Local government officials also attended the ceremony.
The government-to-government agreement between the United States and Greece was announced in 2015, providing for the re-activation of one Hellenic Navy P-3B Orion maritime patrol aircraft, which is the aircraft delivered today. This agreement also includes the modernization of four Hellenic Navy P-3B aircraft through the Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) Program.
MLU kits 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.
Evangelos Apostolakis, Greece’s minister of National Defense (MoD), welcomed the delivery of the first interim solution P-3B Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the Hellenic Navy and underlined the operational benefits of their upgrading program of at a national and international level. The MoD stated that this program meets the optimal cost-effectiveness solution, underlining at the same time its contribution to the reinforcement of the domestic defense industry.
The P-3 Orion is the model in maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, 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 Hellenic Navy operated the P-3 fleet for 15 years.
“The Hellenic Navy needed enhancements and improvements for its maritime patrol aircraft. The delivery of this first aircraft will cover, initially, an operational requirement of vital importance, while the Hellenic Navy prepares for the delivery of the fully modernized P-3s in the coming years,” said Rear Adm. Nikolaos Tsounis, chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff.
Work on the Hellenic Navy P-3s is performed at HAI facilities in Greece, as well as at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Marietta, Georgia, and Greenville, South Carolina. Lockheed Martin is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of the P-3 Orion.
“Today we are especially proud as the delivery of this first aircraft, represents an important step in enhancing Greece’s maritime patrol capability. The P-3 MLU and Avionics Modernization Program provides state-of-the-art operational advantages to the Hellenic Navy to not only support present mission requirements, but future ones as well,” said Karmyn Norwood, vice president of International Programs for Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. “This program also exemplifies the power of partnership, from the support of the U.S. Navy and the Hellenic Navy to the outstanding work delivered by the HAI team. Together, we provide the best resources and value to Greece.”
The domestic defense industry in Greece is providing 30 percent of the overall program value, drawing considerable industrial, financial and technological benefits for the autonomous operation and support of the specific weapon system.
“Through this program, the Hellenic Aerospace Industry was given the opportunity to participate in a program of high technical and operational value,” said Zacharias Gikas, chairman of the HAI Board of Directors. “HAI salutes the delivery of this first aircraft as a significant achievement in the effort for a successful program integration. HAI management and employees will continue to effectively work together in delivering the best possible results to the Hellenic government and the Hellenic Navy.”
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
The Hellenic Aerospace Industry S.A. (HAI) was established in 1975 and is the largest aeronautical and defense company in Greece, its main mission being the provision of services and products for the support of the Hellenic Armed Forces as well as of other clients in the domestic and international market.
Delivery Ceremony for the Greek Navy’s P3-B Aircraft
(Source: US Embassy in Greece; dated May 20, issued May 18, 2019)
(Remarks by US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt)
Minister Apostolakis, Alternate Minister Rigas, General Christodoulou, Vice Admiral Tsounis, friends. It is a great pleasure and an honor for me to be here today to celebrate the rebirth of the Hellenic Navy’s Maritime Patrol capability. I spoke at EXPOSEC last week and at the Hellenic Air Force Air Power Conference on Wednesday about enhancing the U.S.-Greece strategic relationship and pursuing areas of mutual interest, and today’s event makes that partnership concrete.
This week’s visits to Greece by EUCOM Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Twitty and the new commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa General Harrigian are additional proof that we are working together more closely today than ever before.
I remember seeing the P-3B soon after their arrival at HAI with Chairman Gikas, at the beginning of the Hellenic Navy’s Maritime Patrol modernization process, and now, here today, we are welcoming the first aircraft’s return to the Hellenic Fleet.
We’ve also discussed the opportunities that exist to find low-cost solutions to sustain and enhance Greek military capability, and I am very excited to see one of those come to fruition this week with the arrival of 70 Kiowa helicopters in Greece. (Emphasis added—Ed.)
We’ve talked about the exceptional capacity of Greek military and security infrastructure, and next week, for the first time in years, a brigade of Stryker vehicles will offload from a ship at the Port of Alexandroupoli and make their way to locations across Europe to participate in NATO exercises and support Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Any one of these events would be considered a success in advancing our defense relationship, but taken together, they demonstrate the strength and resolve of our nations to effect meaningful, long-term deepening of our alliance.
So, while we celebrate these advances in our relationship today and in the days to come, let’s also use them as the foundation for the United States and Greece’s strong and secure future.
It’s fitting to talk about our common future while standing in this aircraft hangar at AHI, which we hope will become the nexus of a re-emerging Greek defense and aerospace industry.
Following the delivery of the interim aircraft today, I eagerly await the modernization of the four remaining P-3 aircraft and their return to the skies to provide maritime domain awareness for Greece and the Alliance across the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Seas.
I also look forward to inducting the first F-16 aircraft into the Viper upgrade program within the next year. The successful completion of these projects will continue to expand HAI’s know-how and reputation in the eyes of its transatlantic partners.
HAI’s technological capabilities will need to further develop to accomplish these significant modernization tasks, and this increased capacity will equip HAI with the skills and facilities to become a leader in the defense industry, qualified to serve customers across the region.
Strengthening HAI supports an important ecosystem where research and development, innovation, and economic opportunity intersect to meet the challenges of the future.
This ecosystem serves not only to reenergize the Greek defense industry, but also to nurture strategic business relationships with U.S. companies, like Lockheed Martin. And American companies are clearly interested in connecting with Greek infrastructure, energy, and technology industries as the Greek economy continues to rebound.
Here at HAI, the Greek defense industry is uniquely positioned to provide material solutions for the country’s national security requirements while at the same time leveraging Greece’s geopolitical relationships and location to once again become a major regional player.
I see so much potential here, as I was reminded yesterday, visiting some of the world-class technology firms at the Patras University Technology Park. I believe that success in achieving this potential depends on how well the opportunities are integrated and market conditions are created to take advantage of changes in the regional security environment and the technological drivers of our world.
I look forward to further enhancing U.S.-Greece defense cooperation when the Pentagon welcomes Minister Apostolakis next month. For the U.S., Greece is a strong and steadfast partner, a NATO ally and a pillar of stability in the region. Moving forward with an increased tempo to our military engagement offers tangible evidence of the U.S. government’s unequivocal support for, and investments in our historic partnership and our shared alliance interests.