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Lockheed P-3C Orion

posted by Jiri Wagner

Lockheed P-3C Orion is a four-engine propeller aircraft used as a submarine hunter and for surface surveillance.

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.

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.

General characteristics

Primary function Antisubmarine warfare(ASW)/Antisurface warfare (ASUW)
Contractor Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company
Power plant Four Allison T-56-A-14 turboprop engines
Thrust 4x 4,600 HP 4x 3,430 kW
Length 116 ft 8 in 35.56 m
Wingspan 99 ft 7 in 29.9 m
Height 33 ft 8 in 10.26 m
Max. takeoff weight 139,760 lb 62,892 kg
Speed max. 466 mph 745 km/h
cruising 403 mph 644 km/h
Ceiling 30,000 ft 9,000 m
Range 10-12 hours,  max. 14 hours (radius 3,835 km)
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
Unit cost $36 million

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