Navy to transition from EP-3 to maritime drones

Lockheed Martin’s P-3 Navy fleet will be grounded by 2020 and will be replaced by a larger fleet of long-endurance, unmanned aircraft, reports Flightglobal

While contractors had looked forward to continuing the life of the current fleet or creating new manned aircraft, the incoming chief of Naval operations said the aging EP-3 Aries and special projects series would cease flight between 2019 and 2020 in a move designed to improve intelligence-collecting capabilities, the article said.

Investments of $8 billion will provide for the replacements, including Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8B Fire Scout and RQ-4N maritime surveillance plane, as well as a medium-range maritime unmanned aircraft system.

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