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04:31 PM, April 9, 2018
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German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart Florence Parly (Image: Delano.lu)

Germany plans to sign a letter of intent with France to jointly develop a new maritime patrol aircraft later this month.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart Florence Parly plan to sign a letter of intent on 27 April, German Navy said in a statement last Friday.

The "Maritime Airborne Warfare System" - the working title of the intended development program - will replace the P-3C "Orion" and the Breguet Atlantique 2, which are currently in service with the German Navy and the Marine Nationale. The joint successor model is to be available at the time both types of aircraft are retired.

The German-French Defense and Security Council had already decided in Paris on 13 July 2017 to seek a "European solution" to renew the naval and maritime intelligence capabilities of the German and French navies, and in 2018 agreed to work out a "common road map". Part of the planning will be that both sides coordinate their capability requirements to define a possible common model.

Eight P-3C "Orion" were ordered in 2006 by the German Navy. The four-engine Orion has an operational range of around 2,500 kilometers. Its main task is the monitoring of large maritime areas - both above and below the water surface. In order to take action against submarines, for example, the largest combat aircraft in the Bundeswehr can carry up to eight torpedoes.

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