Naval Air: December 20, 1999


Germany wants to replace its 14 French-built Atlantic-1 maritime patrol planes with 10-12 new planes with improved capabilities. The Italians want to replace their 18 Atlantic-1s with 14 new aircraft. The two countries have agreed to buy the same aircraft so that they can negotiate a better deal. The only two serious contenders for the deal are the US P-3C Orion and the French Atlantic-3. France has 28 Atlantic-2s and plans to update 25 of them to Atlantic-3 standards.--Stephen V Cole

; The Netherlands will spend $175 million upgrading its P-3C Orions with the Capability Update Program. This will provide increased ability to track targets in shallow waters, and to track fast-moving units in littoral areas where the mixture of land, water, shoals and rocks, and currents can confuse the sensors. Of the 13 Dutch Orions, three will be sold, three will get a partial upgrade and will be based in the Caribbean, and seven will get the full military upgrade. Of these, two will be assigned to search and rescue, one will be rotated to Iceland for NATO duty there, and the other four will conduct patrol missions from Valkenburg Naval Air Station. --Stephen V Cole




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