THE DUTCH Ministry of Defence announced on July 20 that agreement has been reached on the sale of eight P-3C Orions to the German Navy to replace the ageing Br. 1150 Atlantics of MFG.3 at Nordholz. On April 28, the Dutch Parliament gave approval for disbandment of the Groep Maritietiie patrouille-vliegtuigen (MARPAT -maritime patrol aircraft group), closure of naval air station Valkenburg and sale of all 13 Dutch P-3Cs.
Germany will reportedly pay 295 million Euros for the aircraft, spare parts, flight simulator and additional support equipment. All eight will have gone through the Capabilities Upkeep Programme (CUP) by the time of delivery. The first is scheduled for delivery in November
2005 and the last in March 2006. The deal — still subject to approval by the German Parliament —includes training of German flight crews and technicians at Valkenburg, commencing in August 2004. It seems likely that Valkenburg will remain open until at least March
2006 to accommodate this training.
The remaining five Dutch P-3Cs — including two CUP-modified and three unmodified aircraft — are also available for sale. The Dutch MoD has confirmed that negotiations with Portugal continue on the sale of these aircraft.