PROGRESS CONTINUES on the Forca Aerea Brasileira (FAB) P-3AM Orion contract, under which the FAB has acquired 12 former US Navy P-3As through a contract signed last year (see Brazilian P-3BR and C-295 Contracts Signed, July 2005, p22). Eight of these (with an option on a ninth) are being refurbished and upgraded for FAB service, whilst the remainder will be used for spares.
EADS CASA is upgrading the aircraft, but Aero Union Corporation (AUC) of Chico, California, announced on August 19, 2005, that it had been contracted to de-preserve and reactivate them. All have been in storage at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, for many years. AUC is also responsible for ferrying them, with nine going to EADS in Spain for upgrade, and the remaining three to Brazil for spares use.
The first aircraft for upgrade, FAB 7200 (ex USN/152180), flew again at AMARC on December 20, 2005 (see First Brazilian P-3 Flown, February, p21), then left Chico on January 10, 2006, arriving at the EADS CASA facility at Getafe, Spain, the following day. A second aircraft, FAB 7201 (ex 152174), was ferried from Chico to Getafe between May 22 and 24 (see News Briefs, August, p25). The FAB has designated the aircraft P-3AM, the ‘M’ standing for modernised. Modernisation work includes installing EADS CASA’s FITS (Fully Integrated Tactical System) and an engine upgrade to the T56-A-14.