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Lockheed P-3 Orion variants

Lockheed P-3 Orion variants

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The following is an extensive catalogue of the variants and specific unique elements of each variant and/or design stage of the Lockheed
Lockheed Corporation
The Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.-Origins:...

 P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft. For a broader article on the history of the P-3, see P-3 Orion
P-3 Orion
The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s. Lockheed based it on the L-188 Electra commercial airliner. The aircraft is easily recognizable by its distinctive tail stinger or...

.

P-3A and Variants

  • P-3A: The original production version; 157 built.
  • P-3A (CS): Four P-3A aircraft were reequipped with AN/APG-66 radar
    Radar
    Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

    s for use by the United States Customs Service
    United States Customs Service
    Until March 2003, the United States Customs Service was an agency of the U.S. federal government that collected import tariffs and performed other selected border security duties.Before it was rolled into form part of the U.S...

    .
  • EP-3A: Seven modified for electronic reconnaissance testing.
  • NP-3A: Three modified for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.
  • RP-3A: Two modified for scientific uses for the former Oceanographic Development Squadron EIGHT (VXN-8) at NAS Patuxent River.
  • TP-3A: 12 modified for training duties in Fleet Replacement Squadrons with all ASW
    Anti-submarine warfare
    Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of naval warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines....

     gear removed.
  • UP-3A: 38 reconfigured as utility transport
    Transport
    Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

    s with all the ASW gear removed.
  • VP-3A: Three WP-3A and two P-3A aircraft converted into VIP/staff transports.
  • WP-3A: Four converted for weather reconnaissance.

P-3B and Variants

  • P-3B: Second main production version/series T56-A14 engines in lieu of T56-A10W engines on P-3A.
  • P-3AM: Modification to P-3B model for the Brazilian Air Force. Twelve aircraft with EADS/CASA avionics, with deliveries to the Brazilian AF beginning on 3 December 2010.
  • EP-3B: Least known of all P-3 family. 3 P-3A(149669, 149673, 149678) were obtained by CIA from US Navy under Project STSPIN in May 1963, as the replacement aircraft for CIA's own covert operation fleet of RB-69A/P2V-7U. Converted by Aerosystems Division of LTV at Greenville, Texas, the 3 P-3A were simply known as "black" P-3A under Project Axial. Officially transferred from US Navy to CIA on June/July 1964, LTV Aerosystems converted the 3 aircraft to be both ELINT and COMINT platform. First of 3 "black" P-3A arrived in Taiwan and officially transferred to ROCAF's top secret "Black Bat" Squadron on June 22, 1966. Armed with 4 Sidewinder short range AAM missiles for self defense, the 3 "black" P-3A flew peripheral missions along the China coast to collect SIGINT and air samples. When the project was terminated in January 1967, all 3 "black" P-3A were flown to NAS Alameda, CA, for long term storage. 2 of the 3 aircraft(149669 and 149678) were converted into the only 2 EP-3B examples in existence in the world by Lockheed at Burbank in September 1967, while the third aircraft(149673) were converted by Lockheed in 1969-1970 to serve as a development aircraft for various electronic programs. The 2 EP-3B were known as "Bat Rack", owning to their short period of service with Taiwan's "Black Bat" Squadron, were issued to US Navy's VQ-1 Squadron in 1969 and deployed to Da Nang, Vietnam. Later, the 2 EP-3B were converted to EP-3E ARIES, along with 7 EP-3A. The 2 EP-3E retired in 1980s, when replaced by 12 EP-3E ARIES II.
  • NP-3B: One P-3B converted into a testbed, for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

P-3C and Variants

  • P-3C: Third main production version/series. T56-A14 engines. P-3C had A-NEW ASW suite and mission computer. Revised internal layout. Externally P-3C featured electrically operated entry ladder, small fin-top antenna, externally loaded belly sonobuoy chutes, 3 small windows on the aft right side (one window forward of the overwing emergency exit and two well aft). Initial production aircraft had camera nose located on lower part of radome. Later production aircraft had retractable IRDS turret in lieu of nose camera. Beginning in the early 1980s existing camera noses were retrofitted with IRDS turrets. Also known as P-3C "Baseline" or Non-Update (NUD) aircraft. All aircraft later retrofitted with LTN-72 inertial navigation system.
    • P-3C Update I: New and improved avionics, 31 built.
    • P-3C Update II: With infra-red detection system (IRDS), sonobuoy reference system (SRS), and ability to carry the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile; 44 built.
    • P-3C Update II.5: 24 aircraft with more reliable LTN-72 inertial navigation system and enhanced communications equipment.
    • P-3C SUDS:
    • P-3C Update III: 50 aircraft with new acoustic processor, sonobuoy receiver, plasma displays, and improved auxiliary power unit (APU).
    • P-3C Update IV: P-3C with Boeing Update 4 avionics suite. Update 4 was intended to be the common avionics interior for the P-3C aircraft and its planned replacement, the Lockheed P-7
      Lockheed P-7
      - See also :...

      A, which never made it to production. One P-3C was converted to the UD4 interior and that aircraft was later stripped and turned into a Special Mission aircraft.
    • P-3C AIP {Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement Program} (US) P-3C Update III with interior modification to add ASQ-222 mission computer, ASQ-78A/B acoustics system, APS-137 ISAR radar
    • P-3C UIP {Upgrade Improvement Program} (RNoAF) P-3C with interior modification to add ASQ-222 mission computer, ASQ-78A/B acoustics system, APS-137 ISAR radar
    • P-3C BMUP {Update III Block Modification Upgrade Program} (US) 25 aircraft with interior modification to convert selected NUD, UD2 and UD2.5 to carry ASQ-227 mission computer and ASQ-78B acoustics suite
    • P-3C CUP {Capability Upkeep Program} CUP (RNLN) P-3C with interior modification to convert UD2.5 to carry ASQ-227 mission computer and ASQ-78B acoustics suite; all aircraft relinquished by Royal Netherlands Navy in 2005 due to budget cuts and subsequnetly sold to/operated by the German Navy
      German Navy
      The German Navy is the navy of Germany and is part of the unified Bundeswehr .The German Navy traces its roots back to the Imperial Fleet of the revolutionary era of 1848 – 52 and more directly to the Prussian Navy, which later evolved into the Northern German Federal Navy...

       (eight aircraft) and the Portuguese Air Force
      Portuguese Air Force
      The Portuguese Air Force is the air force of Portugal. Formed on July 1, 1952, with the Aeronáutica Militar and Aviação Naval united in a single independent Air Force, it is one of the three branches of the Portuguese Armed Forces and its origins dates back to 1912, when the military aviation...

       (five aircraft)
  • EP-3: ELINT aircraft for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force
    Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
    The , or JMSDF, is the naval branch of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, tasked with the naval defense of Japan. It was formed following the dissolution of the Imperial Japanese Navy after World War II....

    .
  • NP-3C: One P-3C converted into a testbed for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.
  • RP-3C: One P-3C modified to replace the RP-3A.
  • OP-3C: 10 P-3C converted to reconnaissance aircraft for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.
  • UP-3C: Equipment test aircraft for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.

RP-3D


One P-3C modified on production line to optimize MAD capabilities. Aircraft did extensive MAD surveys and was painted "Project Magnet". In 1973, an RP-3D was instrumental in pinpointing the wreckage of Civil War ironclad USS Monitor
USS Monitor
USS Monitor was the first ironclad warship commissioned by the United States Navy during the American Civil War. She is most famous for her participation in the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 9, 1862, the first-ever battle fought between two ironclads...

.

WP-3D



The Lockheed WP-3D Orion is a production line variant of the P-3 Orion
P-3 Orion
The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s. Lockheed based it on the L-188 Electra commercial airliner. The aircraft is easily recognizable by its distinctive tail stinger or...

 used by the Aircraft Operations Center
Aircraft Operations Center
The Aircraft Operations Center is the main base for the approximately 15 aircraft of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States government.It is the home base of the NOAA Hurricane Hunters....

 division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , pronounced , like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere...

. Only two of these craft exist, each incorporating numerous features for the role of collecting weather information. During hurricane season, the WP-3Ds are deployed for duty as hurricane hunters
Hurricane Hunters
The Hurricane Hunters are aircraft that fly into tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic Ocean and Northeastern Pacific Ocean for the specific purpose of directly measuring weather data in and around those storms. In the United States, the Air Force, Navy, and NOAA units have all participated in...

.

EP-3E Aries & Aries II



10 P-3A and 2 EP-3B aircraft converted into ELINT aircraft.

The EP-3E Aries II are 12 P-3C aircraft converted into ELINT aircraft.

EP-3E SIGINT


Eight US Navy EP-3E aircraft are to be converted by L-3 Communications
L-3 Communications
L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. is a company that supplies command and control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems and products, avionics, ocean products, training devices and services, instrumentation, space, and navigation products. Its customers include...

 Integrated Systems into "surge configuration" Signals Intelligence aircraft. This will expand their multi-source intelligence capacity to meet the increased intelligence demands of the "surge" in counter-terrorism operations.

P-3F


Six Orions delivered to the former Imperial Iranian Air Force in the late 1970s. The airframe of the P-3F was based on the P-3C was which the then current production variant for the U.S.Navy. The P-3F and P-3C featured electrically operated entry ladder, externally loaded belly sonobuoy chutes, 3 small windows on the aft right side (one window forward of the overwing emergency exit and two well aft), camera nose located on lower part of radome. Unlike production the P-3C and CP-140/140A, the P-3F lacked the small fin-top UHF antenna. The P-3F did not have ASW suite or mission computer of the P-3C. Most of the displays and processors were adapted from the P-3A/P-3B (although the P-3F had the APS-115 radar of the P-3C) The P-3F came from the factory with the then-standard gray and white U.S Navy paint scheme, but while crews were undergoing training in the U.S., the aircraft were repainted in a unique 3-tone blue paint scheme; three aircraft still operational with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force
Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force
The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force ' is the aviation branch of the Iranian armed forces. The present Air Force came into being in the early 1980s when the former Imperial Iranian Air Force was renamed....

.

EP-3J


Two P-3A aircraft modified for FEWSG
FEWSG
The Fleet Electronic Warfare Support Groups ' mission as part of the US Navy was to provide electronic warfare simulation in a controlled environment during fleet exercises to help operators deal with EW threats, VAQ-33, VAQ-34 and VAQ-35 were the primary electronic aggressor squadrons to provide...

 use as a simulated adversary EW platform in exercises; later transferred to the former Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron Thirty-Three (VAQ-33), then transferred to the former Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Eleven (VQ-11) of the Navy Reserve.

P-3K & P-3K2


five aircraft originally of P-3B standard but subsequently updated, delivered to New Zealand in 1965-67, replacing Short Sunderland
Short Sunderland
The Short S.25 Sunderland was a British flying boat patrol bomber developed for the Royal Air Force by Short Brothers. It took its service name from the town and port of Sunderland in northeast England....

s. The original P-3B aircraft were operated by No. 5 Squadron RNZAF
No. 5 Squadron RNZAF
No. 5 Squadron RNZAF is a squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air Force formed during November 1941 in Fiji. It remains on active duty and logged 2,300 hours flight time in 2007.-World War II:...

 from Whenuapai
Whenuapai
Whenuapai is a suburb and airport located in the western Waitakere area of Auckland City, in the North Island of New Zealand. It is located on the northwestern shore of the Waitemata Harbour, 15 kilometres to the northwest of Auckland's city centre. It is one of the landing points for the Southern...

, Auckland
Auckland
The Auckland metropolitan area , in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with residents, percent of the country's population. Auckland also has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world...

. These received part of the P-3C Update II package and some local innovations, then being designated P-3K (for Kiwi), together with a P-3B purchased second hand from the Royal Australian Air Force and brought up to P-3K standard.

P-3K2: Upgraded P-3K, all 6 aircraft were re-winged and underwent a further round of avionics and sensor updates in 2005.

P-3M


Five former RNoAF
Royal Norwegian Air Force
The Royal Norwegian Air Force is the air force of Norway. It was established as a separate arm of the Norwegian armed forces on 10 November 1944. The RNoAF's peace force is approximately 1,430 employees . 600 personnel also serve their draft period in the RNoAF...

 P-3B modernized by EADS-CASA for the Spanish AF. They have a new sensor suite integrated by a six console EADS-CASA Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS)data system. New sensors include an Elta-2022 radar, SPAS-16 acoustic processor, new 99-channel sonobuoy receiver and AMES-C ESM system. Only the original MAD system was kept.

P-3P


Six ex-RAAF originally of P-3B standard but subsequently updated for the Portuguese Air Force
Portuguese Air Force
The Portuguese Air Force is the air force of Portugal. Formed on July 1, 1952, with the Aeronáutica Militar and Aviação Naval united in a single independent Air Force, it is one of the three branches of the Portuguese Armed Forces and its origins dates back to 1912, when the military aviation...

. Being replaced by newer P-3C Update II.5s (P-3C CUP) formerly operated by the Royal Netherlands Navy
Royal Netherlands Navy
The Koninklijke Marine is the navy of the Netherlands. In the mid-17th century the Dutch Navy was the most powerful navy in the world and it played an active role in the wars of the Dutch Republic and later those of the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

.

P-3T & VP-3T


The P-3T is two P-3As modified for Royal Thai Navy
Royal Thai Navy
The Royal Thai Navy is the navy of Thailand and part of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, it was established in the late 19th century. Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartiwongse is "The Father of Royal Thai Navy". Similar to the organizational structure of the United States, the Royal Thai Navy includes the...

.

The VP-3T is a single P-3A modified for Royal Thai Navy
Royal Thai Navy
The Royal Thai Navy is the navy of Thailand and part of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, it was established in the late 19th century. Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartiwongse is "The Father of Royal Thai Navy". Similar to the organizational structure of the United States, the Royal Thai Navy includes the...

 VIP use and some surveillance operations.

P-3W


Designation used internally by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to distinguish the first 10 P-3C aircraft procured in the P-3C Update 2 configuration (1978–79) from the second 10 aircraft which were procured in the Update 2.5 configuration (1982–83). The older aircraft were designated as P-3C and the newer aircraft P-3W. All were equipped with the British AQS-901 Acoustics Processor. Eventually with various system upgrades to the mission systems the two types merged into one and they are now all known as AP-3C.

AP-3C & TAP-3C




The Lockheed AP-3C Orion is a variant of the P-3 Orion
P-3 Orion
The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s. Lockheed based it on the L-188 Electra commercial airliner. The aircraft is easily recognizable by its distinctive tail stinger or...

 used by the Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

 (RAAF) for tasks such as naval fleet support, maritime surveillance, search and survivor supply and anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare. They are fitted with a variety of sensors. They include digital multi-mode radar, electronic support measures, electro-optics detectors (infra-red and visual), magnetic anomaly detectors, identification friend or foe systems, and acoustic detectors. The 18 AP-3C Orions were upgraded from P-3Cs between 1997 and 2005, with the program taking three years longer than expected due to systems integration problems. All 18 AP-3C Orions are operated by No. 92 Wing
No. 92 Wing RAAF
No. 92 Wing is the maritime patrol wing of the Royal Australian Air Force. It is headquartered at RAAF Base Edinburgh. It is part of the Surveillance and Response Group, and consists of No. 10 Squadron, No. 11 Squadron and No. 292 Squadron. The wing also has a permanent detachment at RMAF Base...

 which is based at RAAF Base Edinburgh
RAAF Base Edinburgh
RAAF Base Edinburgh is located in Edinburgh, 25km north of the centre of Adelaide.It is primarily home to No 92 Wing's AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft that conduct surveillance operations throughout Australia's airspace....

 in South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

. Aircraft from the wing have seen service as part of Australian Defence Force
Australian Defence Force
The Australian Defence Force is the military organisation responsible for the defence of Australia. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy , Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and a number of 'tri-service' units...

 operations in Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East.

All Royal Australian Air Force P-3C/W aircraft which have been fully upgraded with totally new mission systems by L-3 Communications to include an Elta SAR/ISAR RADAR and a GD-Canada Acoustic Processor system.

The TAP-3 is 3 modified B-models for training duties with the Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

, with all the ASW
Anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of naval warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines....

 gear removed and passenger seating installed. Removed from service with the full introduction into service of the AP-3C Simulator. Designator reflected them as being 'Training Australian P-3'

P-3CK


Designation of the eight former P-3B aircraft that the Republic of Korea Navy procured from the USN and which are in the process of being rebuilt with P-3C configuration wings and fitted with updated Mission System Equipment by Korea Aerospace Industries and L-3 Communications.

P-3AEW&C



Originally nicknamed "Sentinel". Eight P-3B aircraft were converted into Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft. In the early 90s, "Control" was dropped from the official designation along with the corresponding "C", renaming the model "P-3-AEW". This made it more easily differentiated from the E-3-AWACS operated by the U.S.Air Force. The P-3-AEWs are used by Office of CBP Air and Marine for drug interdiction and homeland security missions. "P-3-LRT (Long Range Tracker), previously known as "Slicks", also operated by CBP, are modified P-3 aircraft with an optical sensor turret in the nose and tracking radar which often work with the AEW ships. The mission using both types of aircraft in a single mission is called "Double Eagle"

CP-140 Aurora & CP-140A Arcturus



The Lockheed CP-140 Aurora is a Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the air force was created as the Canadian Air Force . In 1924 the CAF was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force and granted royal sanction by King George V. The RCAF existed as an independent service until 1968...

 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA). The aircraft is based on the Lockheed
Lockheed Corporation
The Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.-Origins:...

 P-3 Orion
P-3 Orion
The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s. Lockheed based it on the L-188 Electra commercial airliner. The aircraft is easily recognizable by its distinctive tail stinger or...

 airframe, but mounts the electronics suite of the S-3 Viking
S-3 Viking
The Lockheed S-3 Viking is a four-seat twin-engine jet aircraft that was used by the U.S. Navy to identify, track, and destroy enemy submarines. In the late 1990s, the S-3B's mission focus shifted to surface warfare and aerial refueling. The Viking also provided electronic warfare and surface...

. In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Aurora
Aurora (mythology)
Aurora is the Latin word for dawn, the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology and Latin poetry.Like Greek Eos and Rigvedic Ushas , Aurora continues the name of an earlier Indo-European dawn goddess, *Hausos....

 is the Greek goddess who restored Orion
Orion (mythology)
Orion was a giant huntsman in Greek mythology whom Zeus placed among the stars as the constellation of Orion....

's eyesight, and also the Aurora Borealis are the "northern lights" that are prominent over northern Canada and the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

. 18 Built

The CP-140A Arcturus is a related variant used primarily for pilot training and coastal surface patrol missions. Three were built without ASW equipment.

P-7



The Lockheed P-7
Lockheed P-7
- See also :...

was a four turboprop
Turboprop
A turboprop engine is a type of turbine engine which drives an aircraft propeller using a reduction gear.The gas turbine is designed specifically for this application, with almost all of its output being used to drive the propeller...

-engined patrol aircraft ordered by the U.S. Navy as a replacement for the P-3 Orion
P-3 Orion
The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s. Lockheed based it on the L-188 Electra commercial airliner. The aircraft is easily recognizable by its distinctive tail stinger or...

. The external configuration of the aircraft was to be very similar to that of the P-3. Development had not progressed very much before the development was cancelled in early 1990s as a cost cutting measure following the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.

Orion 21


Proposed new-build and improved variant as a P-3 Orion replacement; lost to Boeing P-8 Poseidon.