The Orion P-3 aircraft.


NEW! P-3 Orion with networked phased array radar.

[P-3 with phased array radar]Click for full size picture.(183K)

This variant of the P-3, the NP-3D, only recently seen, carries an airborne phased array radar in the extension just forward of the vertical stabilizer.

Because the "Billboard" phased array radar cannot see to the front or the rear of the aircraft, this installation is clearly intended to be used in a cooperative operation where other aircraft and radars form an interdiction line, and the threat is known to come from the direction the phased array is directed towards.

Typical range missions include radar/visual safety surveillance, telemetry data collection and retransmissions, high resolution optical collections, and general fleet support. These particular Orions have upgraded engines, the more powerful Allison T56-1-14, which gives them an incredible mission endurance of 12 hours.

The P-3 ASW Aircraft.

This photo is of the Orion P-3 sub chaser, in Navy markings.

Another photo is of the Orion P-3 sub chaser, although in the above photo, the aircraft has been fitted with an experimental dome radar similar to those found on the AWACS aircraft.

Another photo of the P-3 firing a missile.

The P-3 with missiles.

The P-3 with ASW weapons.

The P-3 is a dedicated sub chaser, or ASW aircraft. The extension on the tail houses part of the Magnetic Anomaly Detector, or MAD, a system that detects submerged submarines by local fluctuations of the Earth's magnetic field caused by the presence of the submarine's metal hull.

The normal P-3 has munitions racks for Harpoon missiles and anti-submarine torpedos. For training purposes, special torpedoes are used which close to within a set distance of the submarine, then turn aside, and float to the surface for recovery. It beats the hell out of a Nintendo set for realism!

The P-3 also uses sonobouys to locate submarines. These are dropped in the water, and listen for the submarines noise, radioing the results back to the operator on the aircraft. Some sonobouys will deploy sonar transducers on long cables to penetrate the thermocline, a boundary between two temperature zones that often blocks sound. Some sonobouys contain active sonar systems. Those used in training, like the torpedos, are recoverable.

Official Navy Specs

U.S. Navy P-3 Orion

NAVY FACT FILE
P-3C Orion 

MISSION: Detect, classify, localize, track and destroy enemy high
performance submarines, and
perform surface surveillance. 

COMMENTARY: The P-3C is a land-based, long range anti-submarine warfare
(ASW) patrol
aircraft. It has advanced submarine detection sensors such as the
directional frequency and ranging
(DIFAR) sonobouys 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, while providing 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.

CHARACTERISTICS (P-3C)
Length: 116 feet 3 inches
Wing Span: 99 feet 7 inches
Height: 37 feet 1 inch
Weight: Max gross take-off: 142,000 pounds; Empty: 67,486 pounds
Speed: 324 knots
Ceiling: 30,000 feet
Range: Max mission radius: 2,390 nautical miles; for 3 hours on station
at 1,500 feet; 1,346 nautical
miles
Propulsion: Four Allison T-56-A-14 turboprop engines (4,910 shaft
horsepower each)
Crew: 10
Armament: Mk-46 torpedoes; Bullpup air-to-ground missiles; Harpoon
(AGM-84) cruise missile;
sonobouys
Contractor: Lockheed-California Company
SOURCE: Public Affairs Office; Naval Air Systems Command (AIR 07D2);
Washington, DC
20361-0701; (202) 746-3791



From:  HTTP://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/aircraft/air-p3.html



P-3C Orion

Description: Lockheed four-engine propeller aircraft
used as a submarine hunter and for surface surveillance.

Features: The P-3C is a land-based, long range
anti-submarine warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft. It 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 P-2 Neptune. The P-3V Orion entered the
inventory in July 1962, and
over 30 years later it remains the Navy's sole land-based antisubmarine
warfare aircraft. It has gone
through one designation change (P-3V 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:
Public Affairs Office
Naval Air Systems Command (AIR 07D2)
Washington, DC 20361-0701
(703) 604-2822
General Characteristics

Primary Function: Antisubmarine warfare(ASW)/Antisurface warfare (ASUW)
Contractor: Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company
Unit Cost: $36 million (FY 1987)
Propulsion: Four Allison T-56-A-14 turboprop engines (4,600 shaft
horsepower each)
Length: 116 feet 8 inches (35.56 meters)
Wingspan: 99 feet 7 inches (29.9 meters)
Height: 33 feet 8 inches (10.26 meters)
Weight: Max gross take-off: 139,760 pounds (62,892 kg)
Speed: maximum - 405 knots (466 mph, 745 kmph); cruise - 350 knots (403
mph, 644 kmph)
Ceiling: 30,000 feet (9,000 meters)
Range:Typical mission: 10-12 hours duration; Maximum endurance: 14 hours
Crew: 12
Armament: Harpoon (AGM-84) cruise missile; Maverick (AGM 65)
air-to-ground missiles,
MK-46 torpedoes, depth charges, sonobuoys; and mines up to around 20,000
pounds (9 metric
tons) internal and external loads
Date Deployed: First flight, November 1959; Operational, P-3A August
1962 and P-3C August
1969



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