Naval Air: December 14, 2003

Archives

  Following upon the stunning news in September that Holland was abandoning its P-3C aircraft squadrons and along with them any role in maritime air patrol The Royal Netherlands Navy then reversed itself in October. 

Upon Hollands announcement of scrapping its P-3C fleet, Germany had responded that the Netherlands was now Hollands "preferred partner" in Germanys search for an affordable Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) to replace its aging Breguet Atlantique aircraft. The Dutch Defense Ministry had reportedly offered 10 of its Orions to replace Germany's current Atlantique's by next year. Germany, France, and Italy have been involved in an ongoing search to replace the increasingly weary Atlantique. The reported price would be $34.8 million per P-3 aircraft. Germany was already in the process of evaluating an offer from France for six ATL-2 aircraft at an undisclosed price.

Germany requested an evaluation by autumn of the Dutch offer along with the French offer to sell six ATL-2s. However, both the price for the ATL-2s, and what equipment updates might be included, had yet to be determined.

The announcement that the Royal Netherlands Navy's Maritime Patrol Group would be liquidated, the P-3C Orions withdrawn from use (probably sold), and that Royal Netherlands Naval Air Station Valkenburg would be closed down came as a surprise, to say the least. Holland has long been one of the US' most committed partners in maritime patrol aviation. However, according to the Dutch MOD, a cut in the country's defense budget of $411 million per year would also have resulted in closing-down Twenthe airbase and Fort Seedorf, a Dutch army base in Germany. Holland flies the P-3C Update II.5 aircraft, 13 of which were ordered from Lockheed in 1978 and the first of which were delivered in 1982. 

Since 1992 and the end of the Cold War, Dutch Orions have flown anti-narcotics operations over the Caribbean out of Hato Airfield on Curacao. Another ongoing mission has been fishery-,pollution-, and environmental-patrol on behalf of the Dutch Coast Guard, frequently flown over the Dutch territorial part of the North Sea. Since July 1992 Orions have been permanently detached to the American navy base at Sigonella, Italy, where they are part of the multi-national "Operation Sharp Guard," patrolling the Adriatic Sea to maintain the UN embargo against former Yugoslavian states. Similar missions were flown over the area around Haiti in support of "Operation Support Democracy". 

Original plans called for a P-3 "Capability Upkeep Program" (CUP-Orion) in the period 1997-2003, with $103 million having been reserved to upgrade the Dutch P-3Cs with replacement of the ASQ-114 central computer by the ASQ-212; installation of TI APS-137 ISAR, ALR-66 ESM, and replacement of the ARR-72 acoustic processor by the CDC UYS-503. Other plans included universal display and control stations. 

The Dutch Ministry of Defences sudden dropping of last months announcement that it planned to liquidate the RNLN Maritime Patrol Group (MARPAT) is said to have occurred under pressure from the majority of the Dutch parliament, which has decided to keep the P-3s flying until at least the beginning of 2005. RNLNAS Valkenburg will also remain open for at least one more year. During this extra time studies will be done regarding current tasking of the Orions. One possibility mentioned is the transformation of the RNLN MARPAT Group into a Dutch-German MARPAT Group, with RNLNAS Valkenburg playing a key part. Perhaps Germanys search for a new MPA aircraft will be resolved in this way. K.B. Sherman



 


Article Archive

Naval Air: Current 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close