Skip to comments.US Navy’s New Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft May Be Canceled
Posted on 01/28/2005 8:20:22 AM PST by pabianice
Word from at least one Washington suggests that the US Navys program to replace the P-3C the Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft Program is facing deep cuts or even cancellation in the back-draft from the $60 billion Pentagon budget cut through 2011. To help pay for the ongoing War on Terrorism, programs just cranking-up or not yet delivered are first to be chopped in favor of funding existing systems and combat organizations.
As noted elsewhere on The Nav Log, the Navy is not only cutting aircrew training but is looking at cuts in its DD(X), LCS, SSN-74, and LPD-17 programs all to replace aging existing systems. USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), which was to begin a two-year overhaul in 2006, may simply be decommissioned, while CV(X) appears also on hold and the Marines V-22 aircraft may have funding halved.
In June, 2004, Boeing won the initial $3.9 billion contract for the cost-plus-award-fee contract for the system development and demonstration (SDD) phase of the MMA acquisition program. The first MMA was to have joined the fleet in 2012-2014, with the last P-3 to have been replaced by 2019. The MMA Program to replace the Navys remaining 150 P-3Cs with 108 new aircraft plus an undetermined number of Broad Area Maritime UAVs -- was then estimated to be worth as much as $44 billion in the next twenty years when foreign sales were also factored in. Overwork of the P-3 fleet since 1991 has resulted in its logging twice its designed airframe life, with the Navy having had to prematurely retire 40% of the fleet in the past year and a half.
The Air Force is facing a similarly bleak outlook, with F-22 procurement perhaps being halved.
Neither the Navy nor Boeing would respond at this time to inquiries about the MMA's future other than to say that there has been no official word regarding any changes to the program at this time and that it would be inappropriate to discuss anything that is "pre-decisional" in current budget changes at this time.
Killing the MMA Program would leave the Navy to figure-out how to extend the service life of the P-3 even further. There is in the US inventory no other long-range maritime patrol and stand-off attack aircraft. While the Navy does have mothballed a number of P-3B and P-3A aircraft, updating either to current P-3C Update III standards would hardly be inexpensive, and the P-3A and early P-3B are restricted to lower take-off weights. The first P-3C entered the fleet in 1969 and the most recent are not much more spry. Like the B-52H, all 104 of which were built between 1961 and 1962, and which has been again extended in service until 2040, the P-3C may find itself plugging along for as long a time. That is potentially good news to Lockheed Martin, which lost the MMA bid to Boeing, but hardly for the US.
Doomed by budget cuts?
The Nav Log
Let's not forget what's good for U.S. taxpayers and U.S. citizens who value their freedom. It's probably best if we hold our defense spending to current levels of GDP, and it's probably best if we spend it in the best way to fight the war on terrorism.
This means tough choices and cuts in some cool, big-ticekt weapon systems like the F-22 and others. I'm glad the Bush admin. is willing to make the hard choices.
Dumb idea, anyway, a twin-engined jet loitering around at 1,500 feet...
What's wrong with buying new P-3s? A turboprop is a better plane for the mission anyway.
F22 cuts are horrific. Military spending spending is only 3.8 %
of GDP. Iraq should start pay for its own defense. Period.
This is also different from the WOT.
The military is one of the few areas of government that drive innovaion (computer, internet, space program etc). Cutting our military not only affects our security, but also our competiviness economically.
Thanks for your comments. I know lots of freepers feel we should boost defense spending. I'm one of those who doesn't favor much of a boost (nor do I favor cuts in our current level of 3-4% of GDP). This level of spending forces hard choices about which programs to build and which to cut -- I'm glad we're making the hard choices, though I know it's not always pleasant for those involved in the process.
Why are we reducing our sub hunting capabilities? We can't rely on DD's and carrier based helos alone.
In theory I agree with you. But our current strategic situation has a current enemy, against whom we must fight an assymetric war, and a probably future enemy (China), against whom we must be prepared to fight a high-technology but much more conventional war. Currently, we are sacrificing the later for the former. The result will be a much higher probability of war with China. I cannot justify NOT preparing for both.
We need to spend the money. In the long run, it will be much cheaper to prepare for war against China and, as a result, not have to fight one.
We are not making hard choices. We are making PC ones. China is ready to grab Formosa and much Asia and we are not concerned.
The cuts need to come from social programs and a more efficient homeland security. For example, airport sceeners do not need to be federal employees- they need good background checks.
*In the long run, it will be much cheaper to prepare for war against China and, as a result, not have to fight one.*
Tell that to FDR in the 1930s
If anyone knows, why couldn't C-130s be used for this role? They have to have the carrying capacity and range needed and I don't think we necessarily are talking about something outside of their performance envelope otherwise. So why not? If they need greater speed why not consider the C-17?
Wasn't there just a stink becuase the C-130 line was going to be shut down? Well, extend production and modify them for this role.
I'm sure there's a reason this won't work, but I can't see it.
I flew on P-3c's for 4.5 years in the Navy, these are old aircraft. we had one in our inventory that was 20 years old in 1989 and as far as I know it's still in service. that's 36 years old. You can't compare the B-52's mission of flying in smooth air at 40,000 feet to the P3's mission of bouncing around for 12 hours at 500-1000 feet. It beats you up pretty good. These aircraft have had it. They're too dangerous to fly anymore and need to be replaced if the navy is going to continue with this mission. This is a safety issue. It's deliberately putting our servicemen in harmsway.
Your right, however the Marrietta, Ga. plant was shut down years ago. They don't make them anymore.
I was wondering the same thing. Seems to me that C-130's are used in some roles that might be similar to what the Navy needs (e.g. maritime search and rescue work with the U. S. Coast Guard, and weather recon with the Air Force). So couldn't the C-130 be adapted for Navy use?
One untrue statement, one true one. First, the Marietta plant is still open, making the C-130J and the F-22. Second, the P-3 was never made in Marietta. It came out of the California factory. (And third, note proper spelling for Marietta.)
I agree. Lockheed should have put forth the C-130 as its proposal against the B-737 put up by Boeing. It would require some modification (installing a bomb bay would be the main modification).
And I was contemplating transferring from Boeing commercial to the MMA program when they announce openings for my job classification. I think I should wait.
Can a UAV of considerable size replace this mission?
Aircraft of the World
Main Variants History Operators Specifications Production More Info.
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Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion
US Navy P-3C Orion
(photo, US Navy)
Main Role: Land-based, long range, anti-submarine warfare patrol and anti-surface warfare aircraft
Country of Origin: USA Current Status: In Service, Out of Production
The basic airframe is adapted from the L-188 Electra commercial airliner and since its introduction in 1969, the P-3 Orion has undergone a series of configuration changes to implement improvements in a variety of mission and aircraft updates. These changes have been called "Updates". Update I was in 1975 and incorporated new data processing avionics software. Update II in 1977 included an infrared detection system, a sonobuoy reference system, the Harpoon anti-ship missile and 28-channel magnetic tape recorder/reproducer.
The TECHEVAL (Technical Evaluation) for Update III began in March 1981. Update III was enhanced by a Channel Expansion (CHEX) program; CHEX doubled the number of sonobuoy channels that can be processed. Testing and evaluation was completed in June 1988.
The ASW variants have a comprehensive suite of communications, navigation, acoustic and non-acoustic sensors, and data-processing equipment. The Orion's capability has been greatly increased during its operational life, IFF interrogator, LTN-72 INS, Doppler navigation radar, 360° search radar, MAD, AN/AQA-7 Direction Low-Frequency Analyzer and Ranging (DIFAR) system and chin mounted FLIR.
The Orion also has an internal weapons bay and ten external weapons stations for carrying a mix of ASW torpedoes, depth charges and AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. There are three hard points outboard of the engines on each wing and four on the wing centre section. Each wing pylon can carry up to 500lb (227kg) while the middle pylons can carry 1,000lb (454kg) of stores. The internal weapons bay can accommodate a variety of depth charges and mines or up to eight lightweight ASW torpedoes. Sonobuoys can be launched from external pods or from a set of tubes located internally aft of the weapons bay. AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air and AGM-65F Maverick anti-ship missiles have been test launched from the P-3. The last Navy P-3C came off the production line at the Lockheed plant in April 1990.
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Requirement Specification: Type Spec No.146
Manufacturers Designation: L-???
Electra test bed YP3V-1 (later YP-3A) aerodynamic prototype, first flown 25 November 1959.
PV3-1/P-3A Initial production version with 4,500 shp T56-A-10W engines. First flight 30 March 1961; P3V-1 redesignated P-3A in 1962. No longer in USN service.
P-3B Production version with 4,910 shp T56-A-14 Engines; 144 built, 21 for export. First flight on 24 September 1965. Most remain in US Naval Reserve service.
P-3C Definitive production version for USN. First flight 18 September 1968.
P-3C Update I Improved avionics version of the P-3C. First aircraft delivered in January 1975. 31 built.
P-3C Update II Further improvements over Update I including a Sonobuoy Reference System (SRS). First aircraft delivered in August 1977. 44 built.
P-3C Update II.5 24 aircraft fitted with new navigational and comms. equipment.
P-3C Update III 50 new build aircraft delivered from 1984 to 1990.
P-3C Update IV Boeing programme for existing P-3s and Long Range Air ASW Capable Aircraft (LRAACA); canceled in the early 1990s. Technology revived in 1995 - 1996 proposal for use in retrofitted Nimrod MR aircraft for British Replacement Patrol Aircraft (RPMA).
Orion 2000 Newly built P-3 design from Lockheed Martin for British RMPA competition in 1995 1996.
Valkyrie RMPA offering refurbished P-3s.
ASUTTA Acoustic System Upgrade to ASW Aircraft (ASUTTA).
IPADS ASUTTA programme to be applied to US Naval Reserve P-3B.
P-3D Proposed variant with Allison 501-M80C engines developed for Iran prior to the revolution, but not produced. Designation later assigned to P-3s being built for South Korea for delivery in 1995.
P-3F Similar to the P-3C, but equipped for service with the Iranian Navy. 6 were delivered before the 1979 revolution.
P-3G Proposed upgrade with Allison 501-M80C engines and update IV avionics. Superseded by Lockheed candidate for LRAACA.
P-7 LRAACA Update IV avionics suite fitted to enlarged P-3 aircraft.
P-3H Proposed upgrade of P-3C with weapons bay enlarged for AGM-84 Harpoon missiles.
EP-3 Aires/EP-3 Batrack US Navy ELINT conversion of P-3A/B aircraft for USN, specialising in tactical signal intelligence. 10 EP-3Es were converted from P-3A aircraft and are the oldest airframes in the fleet.
EP-3E Aires II Conversion in Lieu of Production (CILOP) of 10 EP-3E Aires 1 and 2 EP-3B Batracks. EP-3C ELINT variant of kawasaki-built P-3C for JMSDF. Last of 8 delivered by mid-1990s.
NP-3 Japanese P-3s configured for flight checking of navigational aids.
RP-3A P-3 configured for Project Magnet, which mapped the Earth's magnetic field.
TP-3A P-3 aircrew training aircraft.
VP-3A US Navy VIP Transport variant.
UP-3A Similar to VP-3A, but used in utility role.
WP-3D US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather research aircraft.
Outlaw Hunter P-3C modified to support Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile (TASM). Aircraft can detect ships, establish their precise location, and maintain and predict track histories.
Australian P-3W 10 P-3B Update II aircraft delivered in 1978-1979 and 10 Update II.5 aircraft delivered in 1982-86.
1995 Australian P-3 Upgrade 18 aircraft upgraded under 1995 contract.
New Zealand P-3K/Rigel I/II/III 6 New Zealand P-3s updated under the 1981 Rigel I/II/II programmes.
Norway P-3N 2 P-3Bs upgraded to "P-3N" standard for coastal surveillance by the Norwegian Coast Guard.
Spanish P-3 modernisation 2 P-3As purchased in 1964 and 5 ex Norwegian AF aircraft bought in 1987 updated, with radar and sonar modification, addition of on-board signal processing and Infrared (IR) detection system.
Trap Shot Private study by Lockheed and General Dynamics to fit a P-3C with Advanced Air-to-Air Missiles (AAAM) in the early 1980s.
CP-140 Aurora Canadian maritime patrol aircraft using P-3 airframe and S-3A Viking avionics.
CP-140A Arcturus Stripped-down version of the CP-140 with ASW equipment deleted. Used for crew training and fishery patrols.
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1957 Lockheed proposes Electra to meet Navy requirement for land-based ASW aircraft.
May 1958 Research & Development contract awarded.
19 August 1958 First flight of YP3V-1, the third production Electra (188-1003)
25 November 1959 YP3V-1 (BuNo 148276) with 7 ft shorter fuselage and most of the planned avionics, makes first flight.
October 1960 First production contract awarded.
15 April 1961 First flight of the P3V-1.
15 April 1962 Trials began at NATC Patuxent River.
1962-63 P-3s participate in quarantine of Cuba.
1966 New Zealand becomes the first international customer.
November 1966 VP-9 and VP-26 take delivery of the first 'B' models.
18 September 1968 First flight of P-3C.
June 1969 First 'C' model delivered to VP-30
June 1969 First EP-3B in service with VQ-1
September 1969 First operational aircraft delivered to VP-56
1970 VP-49 Makes first overseas deployment of P-3C.
1975 Iran places order for 6 P-3F aircraft.
1975 VX-1 takes delivery of the first P-3C.
July 1976 Canada orders the CP-140.
September 1977 First 'Update IIs' delivered to VX-1
1978 Kawasaki Heavy Industries obtains license to build P-3 for Japan's maritime patrol needs. (90 airframes)
1981 Update II
May 1984 Update III begins service.
14 June 1984 Prototype AEW first flight.
1988 First P-3 AEW aircraft delivered to U.S. Customs Service.
17 April 1990 Last USN P-3C Update III delivered.
1990 Lockheed Corporation moves the P-3 assembly line to its Marietta, Georgia facility.
15 December 1990 Korea orders 8 P-3Cs to be built in Marietta.
3 November 1992 The first Marietta built Orion rolls out of final assembly.
12 December 1994 First flight of Marietta built P-3C.
3 October 1995 The first P-3C delivered to ROK Navy.
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U.S. Navy (Approximately 30 Sqns/units)
Royal New Zealand Air Force (1 Sqn.)
Royal Australian Air Force (4 Sqns.)
Kongelige Norske Luftvorsvaret (Royal Norwegian Air Force) (1 Sqn.)
Ejercio del Aire (Spanish Air Force) (1 Sqn.)
Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (1 Wing)
Canadian Armed Forces (5 Sqns.)
Nihon Kaijyo Jieitai (Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force) (12 Kokutai)
Marineluchtvaartdienst (Royal Netherlands Navy) (2 Sqns.)
Forca Aerea Portuguesa (1 Sqn.)
Comandancia de la Aviacion Naval de Chile (1 Sqn.)
Royal Thai Navy (1 Sqn.)
Republic of Korea Navy (1 Sqn.)
Polimiko Naytiko/Polimiko Aeroporia (Greek Navy/Air Force) (1 Sqn.)
Pakistan Navy (1 Sqn.)
Comando de Aviacion Naval Argentina (1 Sqn.)
US Customs Service P-3A, P-3AEW
US Forestry Service (leased) P-3A
Hawkins and Power P-3A fire bomber
Black Hills Aviation P-3A fire bomber
Aero Union P-3A fire bomber
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Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion
Crew: Ten or eleven
Dimensions: Length 116 ft 10 in (35.61 m); Height 33 ft 8½ in (10.29 m); Wing Span 99 ft 8 in (30.37 m); Wing Area 1,300 sq ft (120.77 sq m)
Engines: Four Allison T56-A-14 turboprops rated at 4,910 ehp (3661 ekW) each
Weights: Empty Equipped 61,491 lb (27,890 kg); Normal Take-off 135,000 lb (61,235 kg); Maximum Take-off 142,000 lb (64,410 kg)
Armament: Ten underwing hardpoints and an internal weapons bay forward of the wing for a Maximum Weapon Load 19,252 lb (8,733 kg) - comprising Mk 46 or Mk 50 torpedoes, depth bombs, B57 nuclear depth charges, AGM-84 Harpoon missiles or underwing rocket pods.
Performance: Maximum level speed 411 kts (473 mph, 761 kph) at 105,000 lb (47,625 kg) at 15,000 ft (4575 m), 380 kts (438 mph, 704 kph) at Max T/O weight at same height; Economical cruising speed 328 kts (378 mph, 608 kph); Patrol speed at 1,500 ft (457 m) 206 kt (237 mph, 381 kph); Maximum rate of climb at sea level 1,950 ft/min (594 m/min); Service ceiling 28,300 ft (8,625 m); Operational radius 1346 nm (1550 miles, 2494 km) with 3 hours on station; Ferry range 4,830 nm (5,562 mls, 8,950 km)
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Chief Designer: Not known
Design Office: Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, CA (originally)
Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company (LMASC)
(LMASC, 86 South Cobb Drive, Marietta, GA 30063, USA. Formerly Lockheed Aircraft)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
YP3V-1 1 conv. Palmdale, CA May 1958-Nov 1959
P-3A 157 Palmdale, CA Oct 1960-mid 1965
P-3B 144 Palmdale, CA mid 1965-1969
P-3C 118 Palmdale, CA 1969-1975
P-3C Update I 31 Palmdale, CA 1975-1977
P-3C Update II 37 Palmdale, CA 1977-19??
P-3C Update II.5 24 Palmdale, CA 19??-1984
P-3C Update III 101 Palmdale, CA 1984-1990
P-3F 6 Palmdale, CA 1975-19??
CP-140 18 Palmdale, CA 1978-July 1981
CP-140A 3 Palmdale, CA 1989-Sept 1991
P-3C 8 Marietta, GA 1991-199?
Your right, most were built in Ca. but that line shut down before the MARIETTA plant which kicked out the last 8 before the line shut down. (I meant to say line not plant before) I did a google search. And my MARIETTA spelling was wrong. Thank you for correcting my ignorance. Allow me to correct yours.
As an old P-3 man, this is good and bad news. I dearly love the P-3, logged a bunch of hours in the old Bravo models. But, let's face it, we have some VERY old aircraft out there that we are asking our military folks to fly.
The B-52 is over 50 years old. It's a great aircraft and has proven itself as a superb warhorse, but at over 50, it's got to be a VERY tired warhorse.
The same is true of the P-3. The P-3 is over 40 years old. Again, another great aircraft, but it's technology and airframe are way outdated and long overdue for a replacement.
I understand budget issues and know that the military can't spend what it doesn't have. I just hate to think of the risk to the airmen of all service branches who have to risk their lives flying in some of these (wonderful) aging, decrepit machines. They were great in their day . . . but their day is come and gone.
It's time to put these aircraft out to pasture - to join some of the folks who used to fly them.
They've got that big honking door on the back, why does it need a bomb bay? Anything that couldn't be dropped out of the back door (or from an add on put in place of the rear ramp with a bomb bay in THAT) could be slung under the wing, couldnt it?
And think of the added capabilities of carrying over some of the weapons already in the AC-130? I bet a battle group commander would love to have that kind of fast resonse weapons platform to command. And they've proved that they can land and take off from aircraft carriers. That offers some interesting capabilities.
Yo! Rumsfeld! Over here! We got your budget problems solved too!
Item possibly of interest.
No. Too darn slow at about 260K. The P-3 cruises at about 340K and even so it takes four hours each way to and from onsta. MMA would have cruised at 525K.
Part of the MMA concept is the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV, with about 50 having been planned to be operated from either shore or from an MMA, to do open ocean surveillance.
Note that the military is moving as quickly as possible to unmanned tactical aircraft (see Nav Log article).
But the P-3 design is excellent. It is basically a Lockheed Electra that has been shortened to increase payload weight and range. Why not restart the line and build one or two a month till all the current P-3s are replaced? That way the Navy would have a fleet of new planes, but there would be minimal design costs.
Thanks, that helps explain why the C-130 wasn't picked for this role. I knew there was some reason.
Tooling has been destroyed and would cost a great deal to recreate. Same reason no more C5's.
But a line could be set up somewhere. The dies and tools still exist. I recall that the C-130 also has parts that are common with the Electra and P-3.
Tooling is gone.
When? I had read that Lockheed had proposed building brand new P-3s when the DOD was requesting bids for a P-3 replacement.
the orion is a cornocopia of sensor systems. it's complimented with equipment which allows it to detect, track and kill adversary subs, perform drug interdiction missions, maritime surface surveillance, airborne command and control etc. the fuselage is crammed with avionics from the flight deck all the way back to the MAD boom. certain things that are displayed by the equipment require a trained human element to decipher. I think a UAV application would be just as costly to design and develop.
The best option in my opinion is to reopen the lines and build new airframes and remove the existing equipment from the tired aircraft to compliment the new ones. most of the avionics are just a few years old even though some of the airframes are pushing 40.
Not even close to correct.
Cruising speed 350 kts.
Economical cruising speed 340 kts.
Cruise speed for the P-3C 328 kts, or slightly slower than the cruise speed for the C-130J.
You did. I didn't know that they had moved the production to Georgia for the last few. In fact, I didn't know any of them were that new.
Thanks for the info.
Interesting. Thanks for the links.
Now the bad news. The C-130J is under consideration for being dropped because of continuing development and operational problems.
Has Cheney ever met new hardware that he liked? He killed the V-22 Osprey when it was new. Now we are reading about cuts in the C-130, F-22, B-737 conversion, the Boeing tanker deal; add in the self propelled 155 and the helocopter program (both of which needed cutting). Throw in the DD(X), LPD and CV(X), and the mothballing of the Kennedy, and you have to start wondering what he wants the troops to use to fight the next war.
But didn't the P3 get a recent kill against a Chinese fighter?
You know, claim that ALLLLLL these programs (all built in multiple Congressional districts) will be cut if the budget is cut, and let the Congresscritters sweat about it before "fixing" it.
Be that as it may, we need new aircraft, soonest. The P-3, while a great design, is way beyond its service life, and its airframe is a 1950's design, as are its engines. Much newer, better technology now exists, which is also more reliable and requires less man-hours of "spit n' bailin' wire" to maintain.
Those calling for a restart of the production line (which will NOT happen) are asking for designs to be used that do not incorporate the latest in technology, materials, and efficiency.
Likewise, the UAV idea is nowhere NEAR the level of technology so as to perform all the intricate work involved in modern ASW. You need trained operators to analyze, detect, and track contacts. You need trained, experienced TACCO's and NAV's to set up the tactics and make the calls. UAV's do not have that flexibility.
Bottom line is, the P-3 is costing more and more in maintinence per flight hour to operate. Many have had to be sent to the boneyard due to high-time on the airframes. Fatigue has already forced changes in the way the remaining ones are flown. The planes can scarcely take off anymore without something breaking. It's been years since I've taken off in one without seeing screws and bolts come off on the roll.
If it's not replaced and soon, a crew or two (13 good Sailors) will die. That's reality.
I wouldn't say it's deliberate...we've been screaming for new machines since I've been in. That's coming up on 13 years.
Maintinence is currently a nightmare. So is getting missions done, as the electronics and internal systems are beginning to break more and more.
Yo are correct, fooman.
As spending soars out of control, it is directed to domestic and global welfare and charity, and military spending is plunging. We are spending less today as a % of total outlays on Defense than we were when Clinton first entered office.
In the mean time, social welfare spending has increased from roughly 57% of total outlays to 65% of total outlays.
Military programs are being cut to fund the gigantic increase in social welfare. All this while terrorist nations acquire nuclear weapons.
The leadership of this nation is acting suicidal.
And it's STILL a 45+ year old design. There's much better, more reliable materials, engines, and methods of construction out there that we should be using.
They were much more enthusiastic about getting the contract, and the work they did proved that. Lockheed took a "ah, well, if we HAVE to..." approach.
Problem is, what then?
Let's say we spend all the dough to restart the lines...make new tooling, etc. Shall we then just build the same outdated airframes? Or should we start using new composite materials and engine technology? Obviously, we should use the newer gear and materials.
Then, what about the electronics? FAR better stuff, in both comms, ASW, camera, and ESM now exists and can be built completely integrated. Do we ignore the last 20 years of advancement and use the old stuff? Why use a mainframe computer of 1970's vintage, taking up 1/8th the available area, when we could use a laptop to run the whole show? Why use reel-to-reel recording media from the '60s when we could use DVD-ROM technology?
Eventually, you come to the point where you ARE building an entirely new aircraft. Which you should.
Yes, either Lockeed thought they had it in the bag, or they didn't want the contract, because they didn't pursue it nearly as hard as they should have. If they didn't want to go the P-3 route, they should have gone with a C-130 modification. On the other hand, they may have figured Boeing was going after the contract the same way they went after the aerial refueling contract, and it wasn't worth the expense to put together a full presentation.
This means tough choices and cuts in some cool, big-ticekt weapon systems like the F-22 and others. I'm glad the Bush admin. is willing to make the hard choices.
As if the only enemy in the world was a bunch of sheep-herders with AK-47s. China loves idiots like you and Bush.
Its not just new hardware, Cheney is reponsible for the deustruction of the F-14 tooling. The reason given was that by destroying the Tomcat, it would force congress to fund the next generation of fighters. I guess we won't get them either.
"I guess we won't get them either."
Gets even worse. The Presidential Helicopter contract was given to Britain over Sikorsky. Sikorsky believes it could be the end of them.