US Congress has just been notified of the $1.96 billion sale to Taiwan of 12 surplus Lockheed P-3C Orion maritime-patrol aircraft. It’s still classified as a “possible” sale because Congress could say no, but this deal has been in the works a long time…a long, long time.
The US first offered to sell a squadron P-3Cs to Taiwan in 2001 as part of a bigger arms package, but political inflghting in Taipei blocked approval of the special budget for years. The logjam finally broke in June when the Taiwanese legislature approved the Orion purchase.
Taiwan will be the 17th (military) operator of the P-3. It has already checked over the ex-US Navy aircraft in desert storage and picked out the airframes it wants (including three TP-3As for spares). Lockheed Martin will refurbish them to the Navy’s current AIP standard, including replacing the wing to restore the full 15,000h fatigue life.
Finally, replacement is in sight for Taiwan’s S-2Ts
(Jason Tu picture from www.taiwanairpower.org)