Information and specifications
|Role||Long range patrolling, anti-submarine warfare, anti-shipping aircraft|
|Country of Origin||USA|
|First date of service||1962|
|Follow up model||P-3C Orion|
|Mainly used by||US Navy
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Australian Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
|Highest Speed||473 miles per hour|
|Variants||Aurora CP- 140, Aries EP-3E|
|Maximum endurance||16 hours|
|Current status||Out of production|
Picture 1 : upload.wikimedia.org
Picture 2 : upload.wikimedia.org
Design and Development
The P3-Orion was manufactured as a lineage for L-188 Electra, a passenger transport airliner. The aircraft has four engines and accommodates up to 10 people in different roles. It was systemized as MAD mounting into an extending boom to aircraft rear, strong search radar and in-built weapons bay. Later, ten hard-points at the under wing gave it the strength for storing AGM-86 Harpoon Anti-missile system. The maximum weapon load clocks at up to 8733 kilograms.
Picture 3 : upload.wikimedia.org
Picture 4 : airpowerworld.info
Picture 5 : f2si.net
The US Navy was looking for an aircraft which can be speedily produced based on an existing model, Lockheed Electra. It was designed to meet requirements for a new, long range maritime patrol aircraft with standard cabin space, bigger radius and better endurance. It has a flexibility which makes it great to use for maritime operations and research. The aircraft graduated from being a submarine hunter and was used for introduction of reconnaissance and sensor technologies. Weapons can be loaded into bomb bay and 10 under-wing pylons. Ordnance includes mines of 1000lb, torpedoes, depth bombs and nuclear depth bombs.
Picture 6 : upload.wikimedia.org
Picture 7 : upload.wikimedia.org
Picture 8 : bredow-web.de
The Orion was a product of Lockheed’s attempt to replace P2V Neptune, a popular patrol aircraft of Korea. The foremost military unit using Orion was the Patrol Squadron Eight. When it started servicing, Pentagon was cornered about the threat possessed by Soviet Submarine. During that time, media exaggerated the strength of Moscow’s undersea fleet immensely. In the late, 1990s P-3C Orions of US Navy were posted in Yugoslavia. It provided support and assistance during US operations at Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. It first entered into active service in the year 1969.
Picture 9 : combataircraft.com
Picture 10 : upload.wikimedia.org
Several upgrade programmes were conducted on the P-3C Orion throughout the years of its evolvement. In 1995, The Republic of Korea Navy accepted its first P-3C Orion. Presently, apart from stalking submarines the Orions also flies over Afghanistan and Africa to keep an eye on insurgents, terrorists and pirates. Outward appearance hasn’t changed much but computerized electronic parts have increased in the interiors. During February 2004, the P-3C Orion was updated with Boeing SLAMER standoff land attack missile. In the US Navy fleet, the numbers were reduced to 170 and stands at 130 till 2010 from 227 original aircrafts.