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Mar 26, 2024

Successful Test Completion: Portuguese Air Force P-3C Orion Aircraft Nears Modernization Milestone

In a significant stride towards modernization, a Lockheed P-3C Orion aircraft belonging to the Portuguese Air Force (FAP) has successfully concluded its initial testing phase – both on the ground and in flight – in Canada, as part of its mission system upgrade.

Since October 2023, this aircraft from Squadron 601 (Lobos) has been stationed in Canada for a comprehensive modernization process, involving upgrades to its Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) capabilities, Terrain and Traffic Collision Avoidance System (T2CAS), Link 16, and the installation of a new mission system with upgradable features. This marks a pivotal step in maintaining the operational capability for maritime patrol missions conducted by the Air Force within national, European Union, and NATO contexts.

During the testing flights conducted from March 18th to 23rd, a crew from Squadron 601, along with a military personnel from the Directorate of Engineering and Programs, were present to oversee operations.

The aircraft is scheduled to return to Portugal to undergo the final phase of modification at Air Base No. 11 in Beja, where it will undergo final acceptance tests.

Photo by Portuguese Air Force

To modernize the entire national fleet of P-3C CUP+ aircraft operated by Squadron Lobos, the Portuguese Air Force has entered into a contract with General Mission Systems Canada, facilitated through the Canadian Commercial Corporation, with completion anticipated by 2025.

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