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P-3C Orion

Last updated: 23 Sep 2021


The P-3C Orion is a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft. In operation since the 1960s, it’s currently being used by two Navy Reserve patrol squadrons. In May 2020, the last active duty VP squadron made the transition to the P-8A Poseidon. The P-3C signals intelligence variant, the EP-3E Aries, is still in service and performing missions all over the world.
The aircraft continues to perform missions with the reserve squadrons VP-62 and VP-69. The P-3C Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement Program included enhancements in sensors, communications, displays and controls, survivability and vulnerability, and weapons capability.

The P-3C Orion continues to be a valuable asset to the Navy. Today's P-3C Update III is the baseline configuration. It has advanced submarine detection sensors, Magnetic Anomaly Detection equipment and may carry a mixed payload of weapons internally and on wing pylons. The most recent updates deliver modern technology and improved acoustic sensors. Continuing structural engineering and analysis of fatigue data is conducted under the Fatigue Life Management Program (FLMP). Ongoing analysis has led to the grounding of P-3C aircraft due to concerns of fatigue damage in portions of the lower outer wing. This has led the Navy to develop and execute a comprehensive recovery plan that included accelerated FLMP efforts, use of on-hand material to immediately begin required modifications, and a dual-path approach to recovery that included both installation of complete outer wings and targeted material replacement. Ongoing monitoring allows the P-3C to continue its operation with the reserve squadrons until they make the transition to the P-8A.

General Characteristics
Primary Function: Anti-Submarine warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare
Contractor: Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company
Propulsion: Four Allison T-56-A-14 turboprop engines (4,600 hp each)
Length: 116.7 feet (35.57 meters)
Height: 33.7 feet (10.27 meters)
Wingspan: 99.6 feet (30.38 meters)
Weight: Maximum takeoff, 139,760 pounds (63,394 kilograms)
Airspeed: 411 knots; Cruise, 328 knots
Ceiling: 28,300 feet (8,626 meters)
Range: 2,380 nautical mile radius; for three hours on station at 1,500 feet, 1,346 nautical miles
Crew: Three pilots, two naval flight officers, two flight engineers, three sensor operators and one in-flight technician
Armament: AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-84K SLAM-ER, AGM-65F Maverick missiles, Mk46/50/54 torpedoes, rockets, mines and depth bombs

Point of Contact
Naval Air Systems Command
PMA 290 Public Affairs

Building 2185, Suite 3190-B1
22347 Cedar Point Road
Patuxent River, MD 20670-1161

(301) 757-8690


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