EADS and Lockheed Martin's tie-up comes at a critical time, as competing manufacturers prepare to submit bids for a combined German/Italian requirement for a replacement maritime patrol aircraft (MPA). The two countries finally issued six companies with a request for proposals in November. Italy requires up to 14 aircraft, and Germany another 10 to replace ageing Dassault/Dornier Atlantic 1s.

Alenia and EADS have been in partnership talks with Boeing and Raytheon. An MPA variant of the 737-700 is being offered by Boeing, while Raytheon, now led by L-3, is proposing an upgraded P-3 based on ex-USN P-3A/B airframes. Lockheed Martin, BAE and Dassault are also keen to participate.

Source: Flight International