P3A ORION

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The History of Aviation


US Post War Aircraft

P3A ORION


Description: Four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.


Features: Originally designed as a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft, the P-3C's mission has evolved in the late 1990s and early 21st century to include surveillance of the battlespace, either at sea or over land. Its long range and long loiter time have proved invaluable assets during Operation Iraqi Freedom as it can view the battlespace and instantaneously provide that information to ground troops, especially U.S. Marines.


The P-3C has advanced submarine detection sensors such as directional frequency and ranging (DIFAR) sonobuoys and magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) equipment. The avionics system is integrated by a general purpose digital computer that supports all of the tactical displays, monitors and automatically launches ordnance and provides flight information to the pilots. In addition, the system coordinates navigation information and accepts sensor data inputs for tactical display and storage. The P-3C can carry a mixed payload of weapons internally and on wing pylons.


Background: In February 1959, the Navy awarded Lockheed a contract to develop a replacement for the aging P2V Neptune. The P3V Orion, derived from Lockheed's successful L188 Electra airliner, entered the inventory in July 1962, and more than 30 years later it remains the Navy's sole land-based antisubmarine warfare aircraft. It has gone through one designation change (P3V to P-3) and three major models: P-3A, P-3B, and P-3C, the latter being the only one now in active service. The last Navy P-3 came off the production line at the Lockheed plant in April 1990.


Point of Contact:
Naval Air Systems Command
Public Affairs Department
47123 Buse Road, Unit IPT
Bldg. 2272, Suite 075
Patuxent River, MD 20670-5440
(301)757-1487



General Characteristics

Primary Function: Antisubmarine warfare(ASW)/Antisurface warfare (ASUW)
Contractor: Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company
Unit Cost: $36 million
Propulsion: Four Allison T-56-A-14 turboprop engines (4,900 shaft horsepower each)
Length: 116 feet 7 inches (35.57 meters)
Wingspan: 99 feet 6 inches (30.36 meters)
Height: 33 feet 7 inches (10.27 meters)
Weight: Max gross take-off: 139,760 pounds (63,394.1 kg)
Speed: maximum - 411 knots (466 mph, 745 kmph); cruise - 328 knots (403 mph, 644 kmph)
Ceiling: 28,300 feet (8,625.84 meters)
Range:Maximum mission range - 2,380 nautical miles (2,738.9 miles);
for three hours on station at 1,500 feet - 1,346 nautical miles (1,548.97 miles)
Crew: 11
Armament: 20,000 pounds (9 metric tons) of ordnance including:Harpoon (AGM-84D) cruise missile, SLAM (AGM-84E) missiles, Maverick (AGM 65) air-to-ground missiles, MK-46/50 torpedoes, rockets, mines, depth bombs, and special weapons
Date Deployed: First flight, November 1959; Operational, P-3A August 1962 and P-3C August 1969

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