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Canada's P3's (Auroras) - Fix, don't fix.

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  • Canada's P3's (Auroras) - Fix, don't fix.

    In Sept 2007, the Department of National Defence announced the cancellation of the Aurora Incremental Modernization Project, the $1.6B project to upgrade the CF's aging fleet of CP-140 patrol aircraft. Although AIMP is two-thirds complete, the Minister of National Defence, Peter MacKay, stated a preference for phasing out and replacing the aging Aurora fleet.

    What prompted the sudden change of direction wasn’t the AIMP itself but rather the discovery of worse-than-expected structural problems in this fleet of 30 year- old aircraft. This prompted a decision to cancel the related Aurora Structural Life Extension Project. Without ASLEP, continuing with AIMP no longer made sense....
    The government is going to keep 10 of the best and complete the modernization program while accepting bids for a replacement. There are a number of possibilities: Link

    P3_Super_Bee, I know you worked on them. What are you views on the P3 at this stage in their life?

    For Canada, I think this is the best route. New planes will alleviate the problem of down time because of MTC in the future. The decision to only rebuild 10 of the fleet was the discovery of extensive structural problems that the Air Force deemed too costly to continue and recommended replacement.
    My Flickr Pictures! Click Me!

  • #2
    About one-quarter of the U.S. military’s P-3 Orion aircraft fleet have been grounded for inspections and repairs after the discovery of a structural fault, the U.S. Navy said Jan. 11.
    The move affects 39 out of a fleet of 161 aircraft, spokesman Lt. Clay Doss said. The structural problem could cause cracks in the plane’s wings, according to the Pentagon.

    http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=3302324

    The US Navy is having problems with their aging fleet. It's time to move on to a newer aircraft IMO.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Cam
      P3_Super_Bee, I know you worked on them. What are you views on the P3 at this stage in their life?
      They're dead. I honestly don't think the P-3 will make it to the P-8. Simple politics here. They waited way to long for the replacement. The P-3 was scheduled to be replaced by the P-7 in 1992, but the end of the "Cold War" ended the P-7, they were actually looking to do away with the P-3 all together. Then the Gulf War I hit, and they saw the P-3 can be used for a lot more than hunting Subs. So they keep it around. One of the mistakes was that when trying to get funding for the P-7, the Navy was like "Congress won't fund this if we are still building P-3's. So all the new off the line aircraft was shifted to the reserve side of the house to drive up the average age of the active duty fleet. Then when the P-7 was canx, they didn't move the new aircraft back to the active duty, plus because of the planned P-7 the P-3 supply system was allowed to get smaller. That has killed us.

      For the wing issues, it seems most of the problems are planes that have metal from Canada in them. When the Canadians were looking to buy the CP-140, one of the deals was to allow Canada to supply metal for the production of the P-3 / CP-140. Weather or not the CP-140 was effected by this I don't know. They don't fly their planes near as much as we do, nor do they have that many. The majority of the aircraft that are having the issues are the "newer" airframes built after the CP-140 deal. We actually did an inspection couple years ago to determine the type metal that was in each aircraft's wing.

      In trying to keep the P-3 in the air we are re-winging the aircraft. We are using older wings from older airframes in the boneyard to accomplish this. So age is not the issue. The 39 planes that were recently grounded, a lot of them were grounded two years ago when the a list come out in 2005, so the number 39 is really a bad number to judge from. A number of the 39 are also already in the pipeline for re-work and/or re-wing already. So for Fleet aircraft actually grounded a month ago is realisticlly around 15 or so. Now while it doesn't effect us now, it could down the road. We are already shuffling re-wing dates around. We had an P-3C AIP aircraft scheduled for re-wing in Jan, but since most of the aircraft that were grounded were AIP, we sent a P-3C UIII to re-wing and keep the AIP in service. Another thing that takes us back to the "bad metal" issue is this, We have in the regular VP Navy, the P-3C UII, P-3C UII.5, P-3C UIII, P-3C CDU, and P-3C AIP. OK quick background. The letter mombo-jumbo behind the P-3C is avionics packages. Currently the UII, and UII.5 are only used for logistics/pilot trainer flights. We do not bounce the AIP's period, and try our damnest not to bounce the UIII's these aircraft are our main "mission" aircraft. So with that said, the mission aircraft, are the planes having the most issues. Not the planes we bounce the crap out of. Another problem for the mission birds is their just isn't enough of them. Some of them will come out of re-work, and be taken on deployment, and won't make it back to the states until 3 years later about the time its scheduled for its next rework. With a lot of the major maintenance inspections on these planes being done by a squadron that don't own the airplane. So the "It's not my airplane, I don't give a damn" atitude sinks in. Maintenance is still done by the book, just with the the love of ownership. So the extra step of caring for the plane aren't there. You can see it with the VQ and Special Project guys. As simple as walking through one of their planes and then through a regular VP P-3, and you can tell right off the bat, which plane is "owned" and which one is passed around the world with all the different P-3 squadrons. I can send a plane into re-work but the odds are I won't see it on the backside, it will goto another squadron.
      -Not an Airbus or Boeing guy here.
      -20 year veteran on the USN Lockheed P-3 Orion.

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      • #4
        Thanks for your insight P3.
        My Flickr Pictures! Click Me!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cam
          Thanks for your insight P3.
          Not a problem, love talking P-3's. My entire 20 career in the Navy was solely P-3's Have worked on in one way or another on just about every variation out there...

          UP-3A
          VP-3A
          P-3 AEW&C
          P-3B
          P-3C, NUD, UI, UII, UII.5, UIII, CDU, AIP
          EP-3E ARIES, EP-3E ARIES II
          EP-3J
          RP-3D
          NP-3D

          To name a few LOL

          Even turned a wrench or two on aircraft heading to Korea, Pakistan, & Thailand as well.
          -Not an Airbus or Boeing guy here.
          -20 year veteran on the USN Lockheed P-3 Orion.

          Comment


          • #6
            thanks Jeff for the educated response.

            Have you ever been stationed at NAS Brunswick ME? I've heard they are now trying to fight to keep the base open because the Navy wanted to keep a detachment up here but the town wanted to rip up the runway to condo's.....

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Top_Gun
              thanks Jeff for the educated response.

              Have you ever been stationed at NAS Brunswick ME? I've heard they are now trying to fight to keep the base open because the Navy wanted to keep a detachment up here but the town wanted to rip up the runway to condo's.....
              Nope, been through there for gas stops, but I was in Hawaii for my 20 years in the Navy.

              I've heard they(civilians) are pretty radical up there. Haven't heard much about the closing over here on this side of the world
              -Not an Airbus or Boeing guy here.
              -20 year veteran on the USN Lockheed P-3 Orion.

              Comment

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