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Portugal taps GDMS Canada for P-3C patrol aircraft upgrade

Portuguese P-3C
Photo: Portuguese Air Force

The Portuguese Air Force has awarded General Dynamics Mission Systems–Canada a $24 million contract to help modernize its fleet of P-3C aircraft to support maritime patrol and reconnaissance activities.

This was secured through a government-to-government (G2G) contract between the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) and the Portuguese Air Force.

General Dynamics will provide equipment and technology to upgrade the communications and mission electronics. The upgrades to Portugal’s P3-C fleet are modeled on modernizations that General Dynamics provides to the Royal Canadian Air Force. The Mission Management System offered to Portugal now comprises over 50 installations worldwide on both maritime patrol aircraft and maritime patrol helicopters.

The upgrades will allow the Portuguese Air Force, as a NATO member, to maintain the capabilities required to contribute to new and existing NATO activities. In addition to maritime patrol and reconnaissance activities, Portugal’s air force also provides air policing, air transport, search and rescue, and medical evacuations.

Portugal has been operating P-3s since 1988, after buying six airframes from Australia. A total of five aircraft are currently in service, providing Portugal with a search and rescue (SAR), maritime patrol, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) capability. They were upgraded to the P-3C CUP+ variant under a €99.7m contract with Lockheed Martin from 2007.

“CCC is proud to simplify and expedite the acquisitions of Canadian expertise and technology by Portugal – a NATO ally and important trading partner,” – Mathieu Lacroix, CCC’s account director, aerospace sector.

“We are very pleased to partner with the Portuguese Air Force, leveraging Canada’s investment and long-term commitment to the P3 fleet,” said Matt Young, Sr. Director of International Air and Naval Systems, General Dynamics Mission Systems–Canada. “As standards and threats evolve, we are proud to support our customers around the world to meet the changing environment.”