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PICTURES: Brazilian air force fields first P-3AM Orion

The Brazilian air force has regained a fixed-wing anti-submarine warfare capability after an operational gap of 15 years.

The air force officially placed its first Lockheed P-3AM Orion into service on 30 September with its Salvador-based 1º/7º Aviation Group. The aircraft is one of three to have completed an airframe overhaul and avionics, weapons and sensor system modernisation and upgrade at Airbus Military's Getafe site near Madrid, Spain.

A further five aircraft are expected to arrive in Brazil by late 2012, while an unmodified P-3 will also be employed for flight crew training duties.


Both images © Brazilian air force

The Brazilian air force in 2002 selected the then-EADS Casa to modernise eight Orions from 12 ex-US Navy P-3A airframes bought from storage at the US Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center in Arizona. Three were acquired for spares, with a contract for the so-called P-3BR programme signed in April 2005.

The modified P-3AM uses Airbus Military's fully integrated tactical system mission suite, and is also capable of carrying weapons including Boeing's AGM-84 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missile.

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