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P-3 Orion

P-3 Orion

Overview


The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine 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...

 anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 and introduced in the 1960s. 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:...

 based it on the L-188 Electra
Lockheed L-188 Electra
The Lockheed Model 188 Electra is an American turboprop airliner built by Lockheed. First flying in 1957, it was the first large turboprop airliner produced in the United States. Initial sales were good, but after two fatal crashes which prompted an expensive modification program to fix a design...

 commercial airliner. The aircraft is easily recognizable by its distinctive tail stinger or "MAD Boom", used for the magnetic detection
Magnetic anomaly detector
A magnetic anomaly detector is an instrument used to detect minute variations in the Earth's magnetic field. The term refers specifically to magnetometers used by military forces to detect submarines ; the military MAD gear is a descendent of geomagnetic survey instruments used to search for...

 of submarines. Over the years, the aircraft has seen numerous design advancements, most notably to its electronics packages.
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Encyclopedia


The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine 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...

 anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 and introduced in the 1960s. 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:...

 based it on the L-188 Electra
Lockheed L-188 Electra
The Lockheed Model 188 Electra is an American turboprop airliner built by Lockheed. First flying in 1957, it was the first large turboprop airliner produced in the United States. Initial sales were good, but after two fatal crashes which prompted an expensive modification program to fix a design...

 commercial airliner. The aircraft is easily recognizable by its distinctive tail stinger or "MAD Boom", used for the magnetic detection
Magnetic anomaly detector
A magnetic anomaly detector is an instrument used to detect minute variations in the Earth's magnetic field. The term refers specifically to magnetometers used by military forces to detect submarines ; the military MAD gear is a descendent of geomagnetic survey instruments used to search for...

 of submarines. Over the years, the aircraft has seen numerous design advancements, most notably to its electronics packages. The P-3 Orion is still in use by numerous navies and air forces around the world, primarily for maritime patrol
Maritime patrol
Maritime patrol is the task of monitoring areas of water. Generally conducted by military and law enforcement agencies, maritime patrol is usually aimed at identifying human activities....

, reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

, anti-surface warfare
Anti-Surface Warfare
Anti-surface warfare is a type of naval warfare directed against surface combatants. More generally, it is any weapons, sensors, or operations intended to attack or limit the effectiveness of an adversary's surface ships....

 and anti-submarine warfare
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....

. A total of 734 P-3s have been built, and by 2012, it will join the handful of military aircraft such as the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress which have served 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer, in this case, the United States Navy. The U.S. Navy's remaining P-3C aircraft will eventually be replaced by the Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

 P-8A Poseidon.

Development


In August 1957, the U.S. Navy called for replacement proposals for the aging twin piston engined Lockheed P2V Neptune (later redesignated P-2) and Martin P5M Marlin (later redesignated P-5) with a more advanced aircraft to conduct maritime patrol
Maritime patrol
Maritime patrol is the task of monitoring areas of water. Generally conducted by military and law enforcement agencies, maritime patrol is usually aimed at identifying human activities....

 and antisubmarine warfare. Modifying an existing aircraft was expected to save on cost and allow rapid introduction into the fleet. 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:...

 suggested a military version of their L-188 Electra
Lockheed L-188 Electra
The Lockheed Model 188 Electra is an American turboprop airliner built by Lockheed. First flying in 1957, it was the first large turboprop airliner produced in the United States. Initial sales were good, but after two fatal crashes which prompted an expensive modification program to fix a design...

, which was still in development and had yet to fly. In April 1958 Lockheed won the competition and was awarded an initial research and development contract in May.

The prototype YP3V-1/YP-3A, Bureau Number (BuNo) 148276 was in fact modified from the third Electra airframe c/n 1003. The first flight of the aircraft's aerodynamic prototype, originally designated YP3V-1, was on 19 August 1958. While based on the same design philosophy as the Lockheed L-188 Electra
Lockheed L-188 Electra
The Lockheed Model 188 Electra is an American turboprop airliner built by Lockheed. First flying in 1957, it was the first large turboprop airliner produced in the United States. Initial sales were good, but after two fatal crashes which prompted an expensive modification program to fix a design...

, the aircraft was structurally different. The aircraft had 7 metres (23 ft) less fuselage
Fuselage
The fuselage is an aircraft's main body section that holds crew and passengers or cargo. In single-engine aircraft it will usually contain an engine, although in some amphibious aircraft the single engine is mounted on a pylon attached to the fuselage which in turn is used as a floating hull...

 forward of the wings with an opening bomb bay, as well as a more pointed nose radome, distinctive tail "stinger", wing hardpoints, and other internal, external, and airframe production technique enhancements. The Orion has four Allison T56 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...

s which give it a top speed of 411 knots (805.5 km/h) comparable to the fastest propeller fighters, or even slow low-bypass turbofan
Turbofan
The turbofan is a type of airbreathing jet engine that is widely used for aircraft propulsion. A turbofan combines two types of engines, the turbo portion which is a conventional gas turbine engine, and the fan, a propeller-like ducted fan...

 jets such as the A-10 Thunderbolt II
A-10 Thunderbolt II
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American single-seat, twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. The A-10 was designed for a United States Air Force requirement to provide close air support for ground forces by attacking tanks,...

 or 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...

. Similar aircraft include the Soviet Ilyushin Il-38
Ilyushin Il-38
|-See also:-References:*Lake, Jon. "Russia's Submarine Killer: Ilyushin IL-38 May". Air International, February 2005, Vol 68 No.2. Stamford, UK:Key Publishing. pp. 30–36....

 and the French Breguet Atlantique
Breguet Atlantique
The Breguet Br.1150 Atlantic is a long-range reconnaissance aircraft, primarily designed for use over the sea. It is used in several NATO countries as a reconnaissance and patrol aircraft as well as anti-submarine aircraft. The Atlantic is also capable of carrying air-to-ground missiles...

 while the UK the British adapted the jet-powered de Havilland Comet
De Havilland Comet
The de Havilland DH 106 Comet was the world's first commercial jet airliner to reach production. Developed and manufactured by de Havilland at the Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom headquarters, it first flew in 1949 and was a landmark in aeronautical design...

 into the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod.
The first production version, designated P3V-1, was launched on 15 April 1961. Initial squadron deliveries to Patrol Squadron Eight (VP-8) and Patrol Squadron Forty Four (VP-44) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River
Naval Air Station Patuxent River
"Pax River" redirects here. For the river, see Patuxent River.Naval Air Station Patuxent River , also known as NAS Pax River, is a United States Naval Air Station located in St. Mary's County, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of the Patuxent River. It is home to the U.S...

, Maryland began in August 1962. On 18 September 1962, the U.S. military transitioned to a unified designation system for all services, with the aircraft being renamed the P-3 Orion. Paint schemes have changed from early 1960s gloss blue and white, to mid-1960s gloss white and gray, to mid-1990s flat finish low visibility gray with fewer and smaller markings. In the early 2000s, the scheme changed to a gloss gray finish with the original full-size color markings. However, large size Bureau Numbers on the vertical stabilizer and squadron designations on the fuselage remained omitted.

In 1963, the U.S. Navy Bureau of Weapons (BuWeps) contracted Univac Defense Systems Division of Sperry-Rand to engineer, build and test a digital computer (then in its early infancy) to interface with the many sensors and newly developing display units of the P-3 Orion. Project A-NEW was the engineering system which, after several early trials, produced the engineering prototype, the CP-823/U
CP-823/U
The CP-823/U, Univac 1830, was the first digital airborne 30-bit computing system. It was engineered, built and tested as the A-NEW MOD3 prototype computer for the Lockheed P-3 Orion....

, Univac 1830, Serial A-1, A-NEW MOD3 Computing System. The CP-823/U Engineering Prototype Computer was delivered to the Naval Air Development Center (NADC) at Johnsville, Pa in 1965. It was the testbed computer unit that led to the production computer for the P-3C Orion.

Three civilian Electras were lost in fatal accidents in 14 months between February 1959 and March 1960. Following the third crash the FAA restricted the maximum speed at which Electras could be flown until the cause could be determined. After an extensive investigation, two of the crashes (in September 1959 and March 1960) were found to be caused by an engine mount problem. They were not strong enough to dampen a whirling mode that affected the outboard engine nacelles. When the oscillation was transmitted to the wings they were attached to, a severe up-and-down vibration escalated until the wings would tear themselves off the aircraft. The company implemented an expensive modification program labelled the Lockheed Electra Achievement Program or LEAP, in which the engine mounts and the wing structures supporting the mounts were strengthened, and some of the wing skins replaced with thicker material. Each of the survivors of the 145 Electras built to that time was modified at Lockheed's expense at the factory, the modifications taking 20 days for each aircraft; and the changes were incorporated in subsequent aircraft as they were built.

Sales of airliners were limited as the technical fix did not completely erase the "jinxed" reputation while turboprops were soon replaced by faster jets. In military missions where fuel efficiency was more important than speed, the Orion would remain in service nearly 50 years after its 1962 introduction. Although not quite matching the longevity of the still-in-production C-130 Hercules
C-130 Hercules
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

, which was the original application of the Allison T56 turboprop, 734 P-3s were produced until 1990. Lockheed Martin opened a new P-3 wing production line in 2008 as part of its Service Life Extension Program (ASLEP) for delivery in 2010. A complete ASLEP replaces the aircraft outer wings, center wing lower section and horizontal stabilizers with new-build parts.

The Lockheed Electra had been created as cost-effective alternative to the Boeing 707 (first prototype flight in 1954) when turboprops are very efficient at flight speeds below 450 mph compared to early turbojets. The improved P-7
Lockheed P-7
- See also :...

 was selected over a variant of the Boeing 757, but was cancelled. The further advanced Orion 21 lost out to the Boeing P-8 Poseidon. Due to enter service in 2013, the P-8 is an evolution of designs dating back to the original 707 as the Boeing 737
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

 airliner has grown to become a slightly larger airframe than the 707 prototype
Boeing 367-80
The Boeing 367-80, or "Dash 80" as it was called within Boeing, is an American prototype jet transport built to demonstrate the advantages of jet aircraft for passenger transport over piston-engine airliners....

, powered by very efficient low-bypass turbofans with more power.

Design




The P-3 has an internal bomb bay
Bomb bay
The bomb bay or weapons bay on some military aircraft is a compartment to carry bombs, usually in the aircraft's fuselage, with "bomb bay doors" which open at the bottom. The bomb bay doors are opened and the bombs are dropped when over the target or at a specified launching point.Large-sized...

 under the front fuselage
Fuselage
The fuselage is an aircraft's main body section that holds crew and passengers or cargo. In single-engine aircraft it will usually contain an engine, although in some amphibious aircraft the single engine is mounted on a pylon attached to the fuselage which in turn is used as a floating hull...

 which can house conventional Mark 50 torpedo
Mark 50 torpedo
The Mark 50 torpedo is a U.S. Navy advanced lightweight torpedo for use against fast, deep-diving submarines. The Mk-50 can be launched from all anti-submarine aircraft and from torpedo tubes aboard surface combatant ships. The Mk-50 was intended to replace the Mk-46 as the fleet's lightweight...

es or Mark 46 torpedo
Mark 46 torpedo
Designed to attack high-performance submarines, the Mark 46 torpedo is the backbone of the U.S. Navy's lightweight ASW torpedo inventory, and is the current NATO standard. These aerial torpedoes, such as the Mark 46 Mod 5, are expected to remain in service until the year 2015...

es and/or special (nuclear
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

) weapons. Additional underwing stations, or pylons, can carry other armament configurations including the AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-84E SLAM, AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, the AGM-65 Maverick
AGM-65 Maverick
The AGM-65 Maverick is an air-to-ground tactical missile designed for close-air support. It is effective against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, ground transportation and fuel storage facilities....

, 127 millimetres (5 in) Zuni rockets
Zuni (rocket)
The Zuni is a unguided rocket deployed by the United States armed forces. The rocket was developed for both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. It can be used to carry various types of warheads, including chaff for countermeasures. It is usually fired from the LAU-10 rocket pod holding four...

, and various other sea mines, missiles, and gravity bombs. The aircraft also had the capability to carry the AGM-12 Bullpup
AGM-12 Bullpup
The AGM-12 Bullpup is an air-to-ground missile which was used on the A-4 Skyhawk, A-6 Intruder, F-105 Thunderchief and F-4 Phantom among others...

 guided missile until that weapon was withdrawn from U.S./NATO/Allied service.

The P-3 is equipped with a magnetic anomaly detector
Magnetic anomaly detector
A magnetic anomaly detector is an instrument used to detect minute variations in the Earth's magnetic field. The term refers specifically to magnetometers used by military forces to detect submarines ; the military MAD gear is a descendent of geomagnetic survey instruments used to search for...

 (MAD) in the tail. This instrument is able to detect the magnetic anomaly generated by a submarine in the Earth's magnetic field. The limited range of this instrument requires the aircraft to be overhead or very close to the submarine at low altitude. Because of this, it is primarily is used for pinpointing the location of a submarine immediately prior to a torpedo
Torpedo
The modern torpedo is a self-propelled missile weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with it or in proximity to it.The term torpedo was originally employed for...

 or depth bomb attack. Due to the incredibly sensitive nature of the detector, electro-magnetic noise can interfere with its operation. For this reason, the detector is placed in P-3's distinct fiberglass tail stinger or "MAD boom", far away from rest of the electronics and other ferrous metals on the aircraft.

Crew complement


The crew complement varies depending on the role being flown, the variant being operated, and the country that is operating the type. In US Navy service, the original normal crew complement was 12 until it was reduced to its current complement of 11 in the early 2000s when the in-flight ordnancman (ORD) position was eliminated as a cost-savings measure and the ORD duties assumed by the in-flight technician (IFT). Data for US Navy P-3C only.

Officers:
  • three Naval Aviator
    Naval Aviator
    A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

    s
    • Patrol Plane Commander (PPC)
    • Patrol Plane 2nd Pilot (PP2P)
    • Patrol Plane 3rd Pilot (PP3P)
  • two Naval Flight Officer
    Naval Flight Officer
    A Naval Flight Officer is an aeronautically designated commissioned officer in the United States Navy or United States Marine Corps that specializes in airborne weapons and sensor systems. NFOs are not pilots per se, but they may perform many "co-pilot" functions, depending on the type of aircraft...

    s
    • Patrol Plane Tactical Coordinator (PPTC or TACCO
      Tacco
      A TACCO is the aircrew member responsible for coordinating the activities of the part of the crew responsible for the tactical operation of the aircraft and its systems. The TACCO may, depending on the country, be the Mission Commander of the crew.Typically, TACCOs run the missions in P-3 Orion...

      )
    • Patrol Plane Navigator/Communicator (PPNC or NAVCOM)

NOTE: NAVCOM on P-3C only; USN P-3A & P-3B series had an NFO Navigator (NAV) and an enlisted radio operator (RO)

Enlisted Aircrew:
  • two enlisted aircrew flight engineers (FE1 and FE2)
  • three enlisted sensor operators
    • Radar/MAD/AWO (SS-3)
    • two Acoustic (SS-1 and SS-2)
  • one enlisted in-flight technician (IFT)
  • one enlisted aviation ordnanceman (ORD position no longer used on USN crews; duties assumed by IFT.)


The senior of either the PPC or TACCO will be designated as the aircraft Mission Commander (MC).

Engine loiter shutdown


Once on station, one engine is often shut down (usually the No. 1 engine – the port outer engine) to conserve fuel and extend the time aloft and/or range when at low level. It is the primary candidate for loiter shutdown because uniquely it has no generator, and provides no electrical power. Eliminating the exhaust from engine 1 also improves visibility from the aft observer station on the port side of the aircraft.

On occasion, both outboard engines can be shut down, weight, weather, and fuel permitting. Long deep-water, coastal or border patrol missions can last over 10 hours and may include extra crew. The record time aloft for a P-3 is 21.5 hours, undertaken by the Royal New Zealand Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
The Royal New Zealand Air Force is the air arm of the New Zealand Defence Force...

's No. 5 Squadron in 1972.

Operational history


Developed during 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...

, the P-3's primary mission was to track Soviet Navy
Soviet Navy
The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy would have played an instrumental role in a Warsaw Pact war with NATO, where it would have attempted to prevent naval convoys from bringing reinforcements across the Atlantic Ocean...

 ballistic missile
Ballistic missile
A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the...

 and fast attack submarines and to eliminate same in the event of full scale war. At its height, the US Navy's P-3 community consisted of twenty-four active duty "Fleet" patrol squadrons home based at air stations in the states of Washington, Florida, and Hawaii as well as bases which formerly had P-3 operations in Maryland, Maine, and California. There were also thirteen Naval Reserve patrol squadrons identical to their active duty "Fleet" counterparts based in Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts (later relocated to Maine), Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana, California and Washington; and two Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRS) in California (now deactivated providing P-3 training for the Pacific Fleet) and Florida providing P-3 training (formerly only for the Atlantic Fleet). This was augmented by two active duty test and evaluation squadrons and three active duty "special projects" units, the latter being slightly smaller than a typical squadron.

Reconnaissance missions in international waters led to occasions where Soviet fighters would "bump" a U.S. Navy P-3 or other P-3 operators such as the Royal Norwegian Air Force
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...

. On 1 April 2001, a midair collision between a United States Navy EP-3E ARIES II signals surveillance aircraft and a People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) J-8II jet fighter-interceptor resulted in an international dispute between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC) called the Hainan Island incident
Hainan Island incident
On April 1, 2001, a mid-air collision between a United States Navy EP-3E ARIES II signals intelligence aircraft and a People's Liberation Army Navy J-8II interceptor fighter jet resulted in an international dispute between the United States and the People's Republic of China called the Hainan...

.

More than 40 combatant and noncombatant P-3 variants have demonstrated the rugged reliability displayed by the platform flying 12-hour plus missions 200 ft (61 m) over salt water while maintaining an excellent safety record. Versions have been developed for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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...

 (NOAA) for research and hurricane hunting/hurricane wall busting, for the U.S. Customs Service (now U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs and immigration. CBP is the...

) for drug interdiction and aerial surveillance mission with a rotodome adapted from the Grumman E-2 Hawkeye or an AN/APG-66
AN/APG-66
The AN/APG-66 radar is a solid state medium range Pulse-doppler radar designed by Westinghouse for use in the F-16 Fighting Falcon and in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's C-550 Cessna Citation, US Navy P-3 Orion, and Piper PA-42 Cheyenne II's as well as the Small Aerostat Surveillance...

 radar adapted from the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, and for NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 for research and development.

The United States Navy remains the largest P-3 operator, currently distributed between a single fleet replacement (i.e., "training) patrol squadron, 12 active duty patrol squadrons, two Navy Reserve
United States Navy Reserve
The United States Navy Reserve, until 2005 known as the United States Naval Reserve, is the Reserve Component of the United States Navy...

 patrol squadrons, two active duty
Active duty
Active duty refers to a full-time occupation as part of a military force, as opposed to reserve duty.-Pakistan:The Pakistan Armed Forces are one of the largest active service forces in the world with almost 610,000 full time personnel due to the complex and volatile nature of Pakistan's...

 special projects patrol squadrons and two active duty test and evaluation squadrons. Two additional active duty fleet reconnaissance squadrons operate the EP-3 Aries signals intelligence (SIGINT) variant.

Cuba


In October 1962, P-3A aircraft flew several blockade patrols in the vicinity of Cuba. Having just recently joined the operational Fleet earlier that year, this was the first employment of the P-3 in a real world "near conflict" situation.

Vietnam


Beginning in 1964, forward deployed P-3 aircraft began flying a variety of missions under Operation Market Time from bases in the Philippines and Vietnam. The primary focus of these coastal patrols was to stem the supply of materials to the Viet Cong by sea, although several of these missions also became overland "feet dry" sorties. During one such mission, a small caliber artillery shell passed through a P-3 without rendering it mission incapable. During another overland mission, it is rumored, but not confirmed, that a P-3 shot down a North Vietnamese MiG with Zuni missiles. The only confirmed combat loss of a P-3 also occurred during Operation Market Time. In April 1968, a U.S. Navy P-3B of Patrol Squadron 26 (VP-26) was downed by anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) fire in the Gulf of Thailand with the loss of the entire crew. Two months earlier, in February 1968, another one of VP-26's P-3B aircraft was operating in the same vicinity when it crashed with the loss of the entire crew. Originally attributed to an aircraft mishap at low altitude, later conjecture is that this aircraft may have also fallen victim to AAA fire from the same source as the April incident.

Iraq


On 2 August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and was poised to strike Saudi Arabia. Within 48 hours of the initial invasion, U.S. Navy P-3C aircraft were the first American forces to arrive in the area. One was a modified platform with a prototype system known as "Outlaw Hunter." Undergoing trials in the Pacific after being developed by the Navy’s Space & Naval Warfare Systems Command, "Outlaw Hunter" was testing a specialized over-the-horizon targeting (OTH-T) system package when it responded. Within hours of the start of the coalition air campaign, "Outlaw Hunter" detected a large number of Iraqi patrol boats and naval vessels attempting to move from Basra
Basra
Basra is the capital of Basra Governorate, in southern Iraq near Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of two million as of 2009...

 and Umm Qasr
Umm Qasr
Umm Qasr , is a port city in southern Iraq. It stands on the canalised Khawr az-Zubayr, part of the Khawr Abd Allah estuary which leads to the Persian Gulf. It is separated from the border of Kuwait by a small inlet...

 to Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian waters. "Outlaw Hunter" vectored in strike elements which attacked the flotilla
Flotilla
A flotilla , or naval flotilla, is a formation of small warships that may be part of a larger fleet. A flotilla is usually composed of a homogeneous group of the same class of warship, such as frigates, destroyers, torpedo boats, submarines, gunboats, or minesweepers...

 near Bubiyan Island
Bubiyan Island
Bubiyan Island is the largest island in the Kuwaiti coastal island chain situated in the north-western corner of the Persian Gulf, with an area of ....

 destroying 11 vessels and damaging scores more. During Desert Shield, a P-3 using infrared imaging detected a ship with Iraqi markings beneath freshly painted bogus Egyptian markings trying to avoid detection. Several days before the 7 January 1991 commencement of Operation Desert Storm, a P-3C equipped with an APS-137 Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar
Inverse synthetic aperture radar
Inverse synthetic aperture radar is a technique to generate a two-dimensional high resolution image of a target.ISAR technology utilizes the movement of the target rather than the emitter to create the synthetic aperture...

 (ISAR) conducted coastal surveillance along Iraq and Kuwait to provide pre-strike reconnaissance on enemy military installations. A total of 55 of the 108 Iraqi vessels destroyed during the conflict were targeted by P-3C aircraft.

The P-3 Orion's mission expanded in the late 1990s and early 2000s to include battlespace
Battlespace
Battlespace is a term used to signify a unified military strategy to integrate and combine armed forces for the military theatre of operations, including air, information, land, sea, and space to achieve military goals. It includes the environment, factors, and conditions that must be understood...

 surveillance both at sea and over land. The long range and long loiter time of the P-3 Orion have proved to be an invaluable asset during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It can instantaneously provide information about the battlespace it can see to ground troops, particularly the U.S. Marines.

Afghanistan



Although the P-3 is a Maritime Patrol Aircraft, armament and sensor upgrades in the Anti-surface Warfare Improvement Program (AIP) have made it suitable for sustained combat air support over land. Since the start of the current war in Afghanistan, U.S. Navy P-3 aircraft have been operating from Kandahar in that role. Royal Australian Air Force P-3 aircraft also operated there early in the war. As of February 2010, the Australian P-3 aircraft have been operating in the area for a continuous seven years.

Recently the United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

 used the Orion to survey parts of southern and eastern Afghanistan for lithium, copper, and other mineral deposits.

Pakistan


On 22 May 2011, two out of the four Pakistani P-3C aircraft were destroyed by a terrorist attack
PNS Mehran attack
The PNS Mehran attack was a Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan attack/shooting that took place on 22 May 2011, at PNS Mehran, the headquarter of the Pakistan Navy's Naval Air Arm and the most populous Pakistani military installation, located near the PAF's Faisal Air Force Base of Karachi, Sindh...

 while parked on the tarmac during an attack at the Mehran Pakistani Naval Air Base in Karachi. In June 2011, The United States agreed to replace the destroyed aircraft with two new ones, with delivery to follow later.

Somalia




The Spanish Air Force
Spanish Air Force
-The early stages:Hot air balloons had been used with military purposes in Spain as far back as 1896. In 1905, with the help of Alfredo Kindelán, Leonardo Torres y Quevedo directed the construction of the first Spanish dirigible in the Army Military Aerostatics Service, created in 1896 and located...

 deployed P-3s to assist the international effort against piracy in Somalia
Piracy in Somalia
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international shipping since the second phase of the Somali Civil War in the early 21st century...

. On 29 October 2008, a Spanish P-3 aircraft patrolling the coast of Somalia reacted to a distress call from an oil tanker
Oil tanker
An oil tanker, also known as a petroleum tanker, is a merchant ship designed for the bulk transport of oil. There are two basic types of oil tankers: the crude tanker and the product tanker. Crude tankers move large quantities of unrefined crude oil from its point of extraction to refineries...

 in the Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden
The Gulf of Aden is located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen, on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. In the northwest, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which is about 20 miles wide....

. In order to deter the pirates, the aircraft flew over the pirates three times as they attempted to board the tanker, dropping a smoke bomb
Smoke bomb
A smoke bomb is a firework designed to produce smoke upon ignition. Smoke bombs are useful to military units, airsoft games, paintball games, self defense and pranks...

 on each pass. After the third pass, the attacking pirate boats broke off their attack. Later, on 29 March 2009, the same P-3 pursued the assailants of the German navy tanker Spessart (A1442)
Spessart (A1442)
Spessart is a Rhön-class tanker of the German Navy. She was commissioned in Kiel on 5 September 1977.-History:Spessart was originally built for civilian service by Kröger of Rendsburg in 1974...

, resulting in the capture of the pirates.
In April 2011, 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...

 also contributed to Operation Ocean Shield
Operation Ocean Shield
Operation Ocean Shield is NATO's contribution to the anti-piracy campaign off the Horn of Africa, following the earlier Operation Allied Protector. Naval operations began on 17 August 2009 after being approved by the North Atlantic Council and involves warships primarily from the United States...

 by sending a P-3C which had early success when on its fifth mission detected a pirate whaler with two attack skiffs.

Libya



Several US Navy P-3C Orions, and two Canadian CP-140 Aurora
CP-140 Aurora
The Lockheed CP-140 Aurora is a maritime patrol aircraft operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force. The aircraft is based on the Lockheed P-3 Orion airframe, but mounts the electronics suite of the S-3 Viking...

s, a variant of the Orion, have participated in maritime surveillance missions over Libyan waters in the framework of enforcement of the 2011 no-fly zone over Libya.

A US Navy P-3C Orion supporting Operation Odyssey Dawn
Operation Odyssey Dawn
Operation Odyssey Dawn was the U.S. code name for the US part of the international military operation in Libya to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. during the initial period of 19–31 March 2011, which continued afterwards under NATO command as Operation Unified Protector...

 engaged the Libyan coast guard vessel Vittoria on 28 March 2011 after the vessel and two smaller craft fired on merchant ships in the port of Misrata, Libya. The Orion fired an AGM-65 Maverick
AGM-65 Maverick
The AGM-65 Maverick is an air-to-ground tactical missile designed for close-air support. It is effective against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, ground transportation and fuel storage facilities....

 on the Vittoria, which was subsequently beached.

Civilian uses




Several P-3 aircraft have been N-registered and are operated by civilian agencies. The US Customs and Border Protection has a number of P-3A and P-3B aircraft that are used for aircraft intercept and maritime patrol. NOAA operates two WP-3D variants specially modified for hurricane research. One P-3B, N426NA, is used by National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 (NASA) as an Earth science research platform, primarily for the NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 Science Mission Directorate
Science Mission Directorate
The Science Mission Directorate of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration engages the United States’ science community, sponsors scientific research, and develops and deploys satellites and probes in collaboration with NASA’s partners around the world to answer fundamental questions...

's Airborne Science Program. It is based at Goddard Space Flight Center
Goddard Space Flight Center
The Goddard Space Flight Center is a major NASA space research laboratory established on May 1, 1959 as NASA's first space flight center. GSFC employs approximately 10,000 civil servants and contractors, and is located approximately northeast of Washington, D.C. in Greenbelt, Maryland, USA. GSFC,...

's Wallops Flight Facility
Wallops Flight Facility
Wallops Flight Facility , located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, is operated by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, primarily as a rocket launch site to support science and exploration missions for NASA and other U.S. government agencies...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

.

Aero Union, Inc. operates eight ex-USN P-3A aircraft configured as air tankers, which are leased to the U.S. Forest Service, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is the State of California's agency responsible for fire protection in State Responsibility Areas of California as well as the administration of the state's private and public forests. It is often referred to as The California Department of...

 and other agencies for firefighting use. Several of these aircraft were involved in the U.S. Forest Service airtanker scandal
U.S. Forest Service airtanker scandal
The U.S. Forest Service airtanker scandal involved a scheme, called the Historical Aircraft Exchange Program, in which the agency would acquire retired U.S. Air Force C-130A transport aircraft and U.S...

 but have not been involved in any catastrophic aircraft mishaps.

Latin America


Admiral Stavridis
James G. Stavridis
James G. Stavridis is a United States Navy admiral who serves as the current Commander, U.S. European Command and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe . The first Navy officer to hold these positions, he assumed command in early summer 2009. He previously served as Commander, U.S...

 stated in a speech in January 2011 that P-3s have been used to hunt down "third generation" narco subs
Narco submarine
A narco-submarine is a type of custom-made ocean-going self-propelled submersible vessel built by drug traffickers to smuggle drugs. They are especially known to be used by Colombian drug cartel members to export cocaine from Colombia to Mexico, which is often then transported overland to the...

. This is significant due to as recently as July 2009 fully submersible submarines have begun to be used in smuggling operations.

Variants


Over the years, numerous variants of the P-3 have been created. A few notable examples are:
  • WP-3D: Two P-3C aircraft as modified on the production line for 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...

     weather research, including hurricane hunting
    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: 10 P-3A and 2 EP-3B aircraft converted into ELINT aircraft.
  • EP-3E Aries II: 12 P-3C aircraft converted into ELINT aircraft.
  • AP-3C: 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.
  • CP-140 Aurora: Long-range maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare aircraft for the Canadian Forces
    Canadian Forces
    The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

    . Based on the P-3C Orion airframe, but mounts the more advanced 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...

    ; 18 built
  • CP-140A Arcturus: Three P-3s without ASW equipment for Canadian Aurora crew training and various coastal patrol missions.
  • P-7
    Lockheed P-7
    - See also :...

    proposed new-build and improved variant as a P-3 Orion replacement later canceled.
  • Orion 21 proposed new-build and improved variant as a P-3 Orion replacement; lost to the Boeing P-8 Poseidon.

Operators



This list of P-3 Orion operators is a list of Lockheed P-3s that were used by Patrol Squadrons of the United States Navy and foreign governments. The P-3 has seen continuous use for almost five decades since its introduction in 1962 as a Antisubmarine warfare and Antisurface warfare patrol aircraft.

Military operators



  • Argentine Naval Aviation
    Argentine Naval Aviation
    The Argentine Naval Aviation is the naval aviation branch of the Argentine Navy and one of its four operational commands...

     – 6 P-3B; based at Base Aeronaval Alte. Zar, Trelew
    Trelew
    -References:La Pasión según Trelew, Espejo de la Argentina, 1997, Editorial Planeta Argentina S.A.I.C.; Third Edition: April 2000, Buenos Aires, ISBN 950-742-859-3-External links:* * * *...


  • 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...

     – 18 AP-3C, 1 P-3C (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...

     – 10 Sqn
    No. 10 Squadron RAAF
    No. 10 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force maritime patrol squadron based at RAAF Base Edinburgh. The Squadron was first formed in 1939 and has seen active service in World War II, East Timor, the War on Terrorism and the 2003 Gulf War.-Second World War:...

    , 11 Sqn
    No. 11 Squadron RAAF
    No. 11 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force maritime patrol squadron based at RAAF Base Edinburgh. It was formed in 1939 and has seen active service in World War II, East Timor, the War on Terrorism and the 2003 Gulf War...

     and No. 292 Sqn
    No. 292 Squadron RAAF
    No. 292 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force operational conversion unit based at RAAF Base Edinburgh. The squadron was formed on 1 January 1977 as the Maritime Analysis Training School. The Squadron was renamed No. 292 Squadron on 27 October 1980....

    ); 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 2002, the RAAF received significantly upgraded AP-3C. Also known as Australian Orions 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.

  • Brazilian Air Force
    Brazilian Air Force
    The Brazilian Air Force is the air branch of the Brazilian Armed Forces and one of the three national uniformed services. The FAB was formed when the Army and Navy air branch were merged into a single military force initially called "National Air Forces"...

     – 12 P-3AM(Upgraded) in 2008. Integrated with the CASA
    CASA
    - Aviation :* Civil Aviation Safety Authority - Australian statutory authority responsible for the regulation of Civil Aviation* Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA- Spanish aircraft manufacturer, became EADS CASA in 1999...

     FITS (Fully Integrated Tactical System)utilized in Anti-submarine warfare.

  • 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...

     – 18 CP-140 Aurora
    CP-140 Aurora
    The Lockheed CP-140 Aurora is a maritime patrol aircraft operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force. The aircraft is based on the Lockheed P-3 Orion airframe, but mounts the electronics suite of the S-3 Viking...

     (P-3 Orion airframe with 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...

     electronics suite) and three CP-140A Arcturus (CP-140 Aurora without full ASW suite)


  • Chilean Navy
    Chilean Navy
    -Independence Wars of Chile and Peru :The Chilean Navy dates back to 1817. A year before, following the Battle of Chacabuco, General Bernardo O'Higgins prophetically declared "this victory and another hundred shall be of no significance if we do not gain control of the sea".This led to the...

     – 4 P-3A; based at Base Aeronaval Torquemada, Concón
    Concón
    Concón is a Chilean city and commune in Valparaíso Province, Valparaíso Region. It is known as the Gastronomical Capital of Chile and is a major tourist center known for its beaches, balnearios and night life.- Geography :...


  • 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...

     – 8 P-3C (ex Dutch 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...

    ); based at NAS Nordholz, Marinefliegergeschwader 3 Graf Zeppelin

  • 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....

     – five P-3F (71ASW SQN); based at Shiraz International Airport
    Shiraz International Airport
    Shiraz International Airport is located in Shiraz, Iran. It is the main international airport of Fars province.After undergoing renovation and redevolopment work in 2005, Shiraz Airport was identified as the second most reliable and modern airport in Iran in terms of flight safety including...

     (Shahid Douran Air Base)


  • Japan 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....

     – 101 P-3C, five EP-3, one UP-3C, three UP-3D


After Lockheed bribery scandals
Lockheed bribery scandals
The Lockheed bribery scandals encompassed a series of bribes and contributions made by officials of U.S. aerospace company Lockheed from the late 1950s to the 1970s in the process of negotiating the sale of aircraft....

, the Japan Defense Agency decided to officially adopt the Lockheed P-3C replaced the Kawasaki P-2J
Kawasaki P-2J
|-See also:-References:* Sullivan, Jim, P2V Neptune in action. Squadron/Signal Publications: Carrollton, TX, 1985.-External links:* * http://p2vneptune.com* http://www.maam.org/neptune/p2_1.html...

 in 1977. The Kawasaki
Kawasaki Heavy Industries
is an international corporation based in Japan. It has headquarters in both Chūō-ku, Kobe and Minato, Tokyo.The company is named after its founder Shōzō Kawasaki and has no connection with the city of Kawasaki, Kanagawa....

 assembled five airframes produced by Lockheed, and the Kawasaki under license produced more than 100 P-3 variants in Japan.

  • Royal New Zealand Air Force
    Royal New Zealand Air Force
    The Royal New Zealand Air Force is the air arm of the New Zealand Defence Force...

     – six P-3K2 (5 Sqn
    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:...

    ); based in RNZAF Base Auckland
    RNZAF Base Auckland
    RNZAF Base Auckland is a Royal New Zealand Air Force base located near the upper reaches of the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand. The base formerly comprised two separate airfields, Whenuapai and Hobsonville. Hobsonville was established as a seaplane station in 1928 and was the RNZAF's...



  • Royal Norwegian Air Force
    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...

     – four P-3C, two P-3N (333 Sqn
    No. 333 Squadron RAF
    No. 333 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force squadron of the Second World War. After the war it became 333 Squadron of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.-Formation:...

    ); based in Andøya Air Station
    Andøya Air Station
    Andøya Air Station is situated in the north of Norway, in the municipality of Andøy. At Andøya, the 333 Squadron is based with P-3C Orions. The squadron is Norway's only surveillance squadron and stands as the airborne defence of northern Norway...



  • Pakistan Naval Air Arm
    Pakistan Naval Air Arm
    The Pakistan Naval Air Arm is the naval aviation branch of the Pakistan Navy.The Naval Air Arm is tasked to carry out air surveillance, limited aerial warfare, and reconnaissance operations...

     – ~Four P-3C; based in Naval aviation base Faisal, Karachi. Upgraded P-3C MPA and P-3B AEW models (equipped with Hawkeye 2000 AEW system) ordered in 2006, first upgraded P-3C delivered in early 2007. In June 2010, two more upgraded P-3Cs joined the Pakistan Navy with anti-ship and submarine warfare capabilities.. Only two of these aircraft remain after an attack by armed Islamic militants destroyed two of the four Pakistan had acquired.


  • 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 P-3Cs (Squadron 601); based in Beja Air Base (BA11). They replace six P-3Bs based P-3Ps of which one is still in service.


  • Republic of China Air Force
    Republic of China Air Force
    The Republic of China Air Force is the aviation branch of the Republic of China Armed Forces. The ROCAF's primary mission is the defense of the airspace over and around Taiwan...

    (1966–1967) – Least known of all P-3 family. Three P-3As (149669, 149673, 149678) were obtained by CIA from the US Navy under Project STSPIN in May 1963, as the replacement aircraft for CIA's own covert operation fleet of RB-69A/P2V-7U versions. Converted by Aerosystems Division of LTV at Greenville, Texas, the three P-3As were simply known as "black" P-3As under "Project Axial". Officially transferred from US Navy to CIA on June/July 1964, LTV Aerosystems converted the three aircraft to be both ELINT and COMINT platform. First of three "black" P-3As arrived in Taiwan and officially transferred to ROCAF's top secret "Black Bat" Squadron on 22 June 1966. Armed with four Sidewinder short range AAM missiles for self defense, the three "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 three "black" P-3As were flown to NAS Alameda, CA, for long term storage. In September 1967, Lockheed at Burbank, converted two of the three aircraft (149669 and 149678) into the only two EP-3B examples in existence in the world, while the third aircraft (149673) was converted by Lockheed in 1969–1970 to serve as a development aircraft for various electronic programs. The two EP-3Bs 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 two EP-3Bs were converted to EP-3E ARIES, along with seven EP-3As. The two EP-3Es retired in the 1980s, when replaced by 12 EP-3E ARIES II versions.
  • Republic of China Navy
    Republic of China Navy
    The Republic of China Navy is the maritime branch of the Armed forces of the Republic of China . The ROC Navy's primary mission is to defend ROC territories and the sea lanes that surround Taiwan against a blockade, attack, or possible invasion by forces of the People's Republic of China...

     – 12 P-3Cs (Ordered, with deliveries starting in 2012), with three "spare" airframes that might be converting to EP-3E standard; based in south part of the island and offshore island.


  • Republic of Korea Navy
    Republic of Korea Navy
    The Republic of Korea Navy or the ROK Navy is the branch of the South Korean armed forces responsible for conducting naval operations and amphibious landing operations. The ROK Navy includes the Republic of Korea Marine Corps, which is a quasi-autonomous organization...

     – eight P-3Cs, eight P-3CKs; based in Pohang Airport
    Pohang Airport
    -References:*...

     and Jeju international airport
    Jeju International Airport
    Jeju International Airport Revised Romanization of Korean; Jeju Gukje Gonghang, McCune-Reischauer; Cheju Kukche Konghang) is the 3rd largest in South Korea, just behind Gimpo Airport in Seoul and Incheon Airport in Incheon. It is located in the city of Jeju...



  • Spanish Air Force
    Spanish Air Force
    -The early stages:Hot air balloons had been used with military purposes in Spain as far back as 1896. In 1905, with the help of Alfredo Kindelán, Leonardo Torres y Quevedo directed the construction of the first Spanish dirigible in the Army Military Aerostatics Service, created in 1896 and located...

     – Two P-3A HWs, four P-3B being upgraded to P-3M, based at Morón Air Base
    Morón Air Base
    Morón Air Base is located at in southern Spain, approximately southeast of the city of Seville and northeast of Naval Station Rota. The base gets its name from the nearby town of Morón de la Frontera - although its is actually located in the municipality of Arahal.Morón's massive flight line,...

    . The Spanish AF bought five P-3B from Norway in 1989 and it was planned to upgrade all five to M standard, however, due to budgetary constraints only four are to be upgraded, the remaining aircraft being used as spares source.


  • 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...

     – two P-3Ts, one VP-3T; based at RTNAB U-Tapao (102 Sqn)


  • United States Navy
    United States Navy
    The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

     – 154 P-3Cs and EP-3Es; additional P-3A, P-3B, P-3C and EP-3J aircraft in long-term storage at AMARC  The US Navy plans to reduce this number to 130 by 2010. The government of Singapore
    Singapore
    Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

     has expressed an interest in buying surplus P-3C aircraft from the US Navy.
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – two WP-3Ds flown by NOAA Commissioned Corps officers, based at MacDill AFB, Florida
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs and immigration. CBP is the...

     – four P-3C and four P-3AEW&C. Used to track and intercept illegal drug operations.

Former military operators


  • 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...

     – Dutch Naval Aviation Service

  • Hellenic Navy
    Hellenic Navy
    The Hellenic Navy is the naval force of Greece, part of the Greek Armed Forces. The modern Greek navy has its roots in the naval forces of various Aegean Islands, which fought in the Greek War of Independence...


Civilian operators


USA
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration – one ex-USN P-3B; based at NASA
    NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

    's Wallops Flight Facility
    Wallops Flight Facility
    Wallops Flight Facility , located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, is operated by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, primarily as a rocket launch site to support science and exploration missions for NASA and other U.S. government agencies...

    , Virginia used for low altitude heavy lift airborne science missions, modified to support passive microwave instruments, such as NOAA’s Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer (PSR), NASA
    NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

    ’s 2-DSTAR, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) polarimetric scatterometer (POLSCAT) instruments.
  • United States Department of Homeland Security
    United States Department of Homeland Security
    The United States Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the United States federal government, created in response to the September 11 attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the United States and protectorates from and responding to...

     / Customs and Border Protection / Office of CBP Air
    Office of CBP Air
    The mission of the United States Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine , the world’s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization, is to protect the American people and Nation’s critical infrastructure through the coordinated use of integrated air and marine forces to...

     – eight P-3 AEWs; based at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas
    Naval Air Station Corpus Christi
    Naval Air Station Corpus Christi , also known as Truax Field, is a naval base located six miles southeast of the central business district of Corpus Christi, in Nueces County, Texas, USA.-History:...

     and NAS Jacksonville, Florida. Used for border patrol and anti-drug duties. Former USN aircraft, modified and equipped with the same Airborne Early Warning
    Airborne Early Warning
    An airborne early warning and control system is an airborne radar system designed to detect aircraft at long ranges and control and command the battle space in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack plane strikes...

     radar as fitted to the E-2 Hawkeye
    E-2 Hawkeye
    The Grumman E-2 Hawkeye is an American all-weather, aircraft carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning aircraft. This twin-turboprop aircraft was designed and developed during the late 1950s and early 1960s by the Grumman Aircraft Company for the United States Navy as a replacement for the...

    .
  • United States Department of Homeland Security
    United States Department of Homeland Security
    The United States Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the United States federal government, created in response to the September 11 attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the United States and protectorates from and responding to...

     / Customs and Border Protection / Office of CBP Air
    Office of CBP Air
    The mission of the United States Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine , the world’s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization, is to protect the American people and Nation’s critical infrastructure through the coordinated use of integrated air and marine forces to...

     – 8 P-3 LRTs (Long Range Tracker). Former USN aircraft also based at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas and NAS Jacksonville, Florida. Normally operate in tandem with P-3 AEW aircraft.
  • Aero Union
    Aero Union
    For the Mexico City based cargo Airline see AeroUnionAero Union Corporation is an aircraft operation & maintenance company based in Chico, California, United States...

     – eight ex-USN P-3A; aircraft based at Chico Municipal Airport
    Chico Municipal Airport
    Chico Municipal Airport , often called CMA, is a public airport located four miles north of the central business district of Chico, a city in Butte County, California, United States. The airport covers 1,475 acres and has two runways and one helipad. It is mostly used for general aviation, but...

     in Chico
    Chico, California
    Chico is the most populous city in Butte County, California, United States. The population was 86,187 at the 2010 census, up from 59,954 at the time of the 2000 census...

    , California and converted into aerial firefighting
    Aerial firefighting
    Aerial firefighting is the use of aircraft and other aerial resources to combat wildfires. The types of aircraft used include fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Smokejumpers and rappellers are also classified as aerial firefighters, delivered to the fire by parachute from a variety of fixed-wing...

     platforms

Notable events, accidents, and incidents

  • 28 January 1971: Commander Donald H. Lilienthal, USN flew a P-3C Orion to a world speed record for heavyweight turboprops. Over 15–25 kilometers, he reached 501 miles per hour to break the Soviet Il-18
    Ilyushin Il-18
    The Ilyushin Il-18 is a large turboprop airliner that became one of the best known Soviet aircraft of its era as well as one of the most popular and durable, having first flown in 1957 and still in use over 50 years later. The Il-18 was one of the world's principal airliners for several decades...

    's May 1968 record of 452 miles per hour.
  • 26 May 1972: BuNo 152155, a US Navy P-3A, disappeared over the Pacific Ocean
    Pacific Ocean
    The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

     on a routine training mission after departing NAS Moffett Field
    Moffett Federal Airfield
    Moffett Federal Airfield , also known as Moffett Field, is a joint civil-military airport located between northern Mountain View and northern Sunnyvale, California, USA. The airport is near the south end of San Francisco Bay, northwest of San Jose. Formerly a United States Navy facility, the former...

    , California with the loss of eight crew members.
  • 3 June 1972: While attempting to fly through the Straits of Gibraltar, en route from Naval Station Rota, Spain to Naval Air Station Sigonella
    Naval Air Station Sigonella
    Naval Air Station Sigonella , "The Hub of the Med", is a U.S. Navy installation at NATO Base Sigonella and an Italian Air Force base in Sicily, Italy. Although a tenant of the Italian Air Force, NAS Sigonella acts as landlord to more than 40 other U.S. commands and activities. It is located west...

    , Sicily a U.S. Navy P-3 assigned to Patrol Squadron 44 (VP-44) hit a mountain in Morocco, resulting in the death of all 14 people on board the aircraft.
  • 12 April 1973: A U.S. Navy Lockheed P-3C (157332) operating from NAS Moffett Field
    Moffett Federal Airfield
    Moffett Federal Airfield , also known as Moffett Field, is a joint civil-military airport located between northern Mountain View and northern Sunnyvale, California, USA. The airport is near the south end of San Francisco Bay, northwest of San Jose. Formerly a United States Navy facility, the former...

     in Sunnyvale
    Sunnyvale, California
    Sunnyvale is a city in Santa Clara County, California, United States. It is one of the major cities that make up the Silicon Valley located in the San Francisco Bay Area...

    , California collided with a Convair CV-990
    Convair 990
    The Convair 990 Coronado was a narrow-body jet airliner produced by the Convair division of General Dynamics, a "stretched" version of their earlier Convair 880 produced in response to a request from American Airlines. The 990 was lengthened by 10 feet, which increased the number of passengers from...

     (N711NA) operated by NASA
    NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

     during approach to runway 32R. The aircraft crashed on the Sunnyvale Municipal Golf Course, half a mile short of the runway, resulting in destruction of both aircraft and the death of all but one.
  • 21 March 1991: While on a training mission west of San Diego, California
    San Diego, California
    San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

    , two U.S. Navy Orions assigned to Patrol Squadron 50 (VP-50) at NAS Moffett Field collided in midair, killing all 27 people on board both aircraft.
  • 22 May 2011: Twenty Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan
    Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan
    Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan , alternatively referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, is an umbrella organization of various Islamist militant groups based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Pakistan. Most, but not all, Pakistani Taliban groups coalesce under the TTP...

     terrorists claiming to avenge Osama Bin Laden's death destroyed two Pakistan Navy
    Pakistan Navy
    The Pakistan Navy is the naval warfare/service branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces. Pakistan's Navy is responsible for Pakistan's coastline along the Arabian Sea and the defense of important civilian harbors and military bases...

     P-3C Orions during an armed attack at PNS Mehran, a heavily guarded base of the Pakistan Navy located in Karachi.

Specifications (P-3C Orion)



See also


External links