Plans have moved forward to upgrade Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN)Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, with the US Congress being notified of the $200 million programme.

The P-3 upgrade was proposed as part of the Netherlands' Defence White Paper 2000 published late last year (Flight International, 8-14 December).

Ten of the RNLN's 13 Orions will be modified, receiving improved satellite communications, secure communications, missile warning systems, countermeasures dispensing systems, cockpit enhancements, acoustic receiver and processor system, missile warning and countermeasures systems and data management systems. Spares, support equipment and training are included in the package.

According to the white paper, the RNLN will dispose of the three Orions not scheduled for upgrades. The sale will run concurrently with the upgrade timescale of 2001-6.

In addition, three Orions will be deployed to the Netherlands Antilles, replacing air force Fokker F-27s which are to be sold.

Source: Flight International