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U.S. grounds 39 Lockheed P-3C surveillance planes
uusjio | December 19, 2007 at 01:21 amby
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The P-3C has been a key Navy maritime patrol aircraft since the 1960s. It is a land-based, four-engine turboprop designed for long-range maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare and surveillance missions.
In recent years, its missions have expanded to include reconnaissance over conflict zones in Iraq, according to a Navy fact sheet.
In its statement, the Navy said 10 of the newly grounded aircraft had been deployed until now but did not say where. It said a decision was pending on whether to retire some of the planes permanently.
The Navy plans to purchase 108 P-8A Poseidon aircraft being developed by Boeing Co to replace its aging P-3 fleet. A Pentagon decision on full-rate production of the P-8A is expected in 2013, according to a Boeing fact sheet.
Milliman said the grounding was unlikely to have any impact on the timetable for acquiring P-8As.
The Navy expects to be able to fly P-3s until 2019, as currently scheduled, given fleet management precautions being taken, he said.