The German navy will continue operations with its Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft until 2035, with Berlin having signed a $158 million contract for modernisation work to be performed over the next five years.

Announced by Lockheed on 1 November, the deal will equip the navy's fleet of eight P-3Cs with the company's airborne tactical mission system, including new acoustic processors. To be completed by 2022, associated work includes structural upgrades and updated cockpit systems, including to the aged type's instrument flight rules capability.

"The refresh provides critical surveillance capabilities, reduces hardware footprint and supports future system sustainment," says Mike McGuire, Germany P-3 programme manager for Lockheed's Rotary and Mission Systems business unit.

Once combined with a preliminary design-phase contract placed last year, the new award takes the value of Germany's Orion overall mission system refresh activity to more than $213 million.

German P-3C Orion - AirTeamImages


Berlin introduced its P-3C fleet from 2006, after acquiring the secondhand aircraft from the Netherlands.