L-3 Communications has been approved to start low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the US Navy’s EP-3E Spiral 3-configured aircraft, following successful completion of developmental testing of the L-3-modified prototype.

Under the LRIP programme, the company will manufacture and install the upgraded intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission avionics suite on three EP-3E aircraft.

The EP-3E Spiral 3 modification also includes installation of communications intelligence (COMINT) equipment, replacement of old obsolete sensors and an increase to the aircraft’s networking capabilities.

The modifications improve onboard data analysis and provide real-time tactical intelligence dissemination to the fleet to meet emerging operational needs.

A full-rate production decision of the Spiral 3-configured aircraft will be taken only after successful completion of the operational test phase.