Friday, August 2, 2013

Navy Shifts Course on P-3 Orions, Assault Rifles

The Orion lives on
With its P-3 Orions showing considerable wear, the Navy about two years ago started thinking about replacing the maritime patrol aircraft. That seemed even more plausible when Chile started accepting deliveries of the new C-295 Persuaders. But InfoDefensa.com says the Orions will undergo a major upgrade that includes engine overhauls, new wings and the capability to launch Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The program will keep the P3 fleet flying through 2030.  The planes, which were acquired in the early 1990s from U.S. stockpiles, have been periodically updated. Three remain in active patrol service. The article did not mention which company will handle the latest update, but Safe Air of New Zealand has been a primary contractor for Chile's P3 upgrades in the past. Meanwhile, the Navy has selected a different assault rifle for the marines than originally reported. InfoDefensa.com said Chile agreed to go with the SCAR family of infantry weapons, namely the SCAR-L 5.56mm assault rifle, SCAR-H 7.62mm scout rifle and MINIMI machine gun in the 7.62mm version. The initial purchase covers 1,800 rifles and eventually could total 3,500. An earlier deal for the Colt M4 carbine ultimately proved to be not viable, InfoDefensa reported. The SCAR and MINIMI weapons are made by Belgium's FN Herstal. They will replace the marines' current inventory of Heckler & Koch HK33 rifles and Ultimax 100 light machine guns.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Needless to say that the Lockheed P-3A Orion is a museum-piece! Granted that it is possible to replace its wings, its engines, its cockpit, and so on. But it remains a museum-piece. Indeed, it might be much less expensive to replace the whole "aeroplane" by a modern flying machine.
Concerning the FN Herstal assault rifles purchase, they are no doubt among the very best in the market.