Development of Future Allied Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA): Can We Afford Business as Usual?
INDUSTRIAL COLL OF THE ARMED FORCES WASHINGTON DC
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For over 50 years, U.S. Navy maritime patrol aircraft MPA have performed their venerable mission, for almost 30 years now in the Lockheed P-3 Orion. But as many P-3s approach the end of their service life, the U.S. Navy has no follow-on maritime patrol aircraft development program currently funded. This paper examines the military requirement for, as well as possible means for developing and producing, an MPA to meet future needs, not just from the U.S. perspective, but taking a global view. Given the current threat and economic realities, the U.S. may not have the luxury of buying a maritime patrol aircraft which we design, and an American company builds, with all U.S. parts and materials. Even with a valid military mission requirement, the new generation MPA may not meet the cost-benefit threshold of the new world order and slow economic growth both at home and abroad. We must break the existing, often cozy, paradigms of weapon system procurement which evolved during the Cold War, especially of late. This paper seeks to find more efficient and affordable alternatives to fulfilling our need for an allied MPA into the twenty-first century.
- Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft