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Brazil conducts first flight of re-winged P-3AM Orion

A Brazilian Air Force P-3AM Orion. Three aircraft are to be upgraded with new wings. (Airbus Military SAS)

The first re-winged Brazilian Air Force Lockheed P-3AM Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) flew on 2 May, the service announced on 13 May, a major step towards improving the P-3AM fleet's readiness rate.

Elements of the wing that were replaced during the rebuild include the top coverings, front and rear spars, and the upper panels of the central wing and fuselage structures.

Brazilian manufacturer Akaer has delivered two additional sets of wings to the Brazilian Air Force, which are being installed in another two aircraft at the Galeão Aeronautical Material Park. The project is scheduled to conclude in October 2024, Akaer said in an announcement. Whether or not Brazil intends to upgrade the P-3AM fleet beyond the three deliveries has not been publicly disclosed.

On 25 October 2018 Akaer was awarded a contract to rebuild the main wings of three Orion MPAs, the company said.

Brazil received 9 P-3AMs between 2011 and 2014. The P-3AM includes the Elta Systems EL/M-2022A(V)3 radar, the Teledyne FLIR Star Safire II imager, the Airbus FITS mission system, and the SAES SPAS-32 sonobuoy processing system. The aircraft can be armed with the Boeing AGM-84L Harpoon anti-ship missile, the RTX MK 46 Mod 5 torpedo, 500 lb general-purpose bombs, and sea mines.

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