Lockheed P-3 Orion

The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s. Lockheed based it on the L-188 Electra commercial airliner. The aircraft is easily recognizable by its distinctive tail stinger or "MAD Boom", used for the magnetic detection of submarines.

Over the years, the aircraft has seen numerous design advancements, most notably to its electronics packages. The P-3 Orion is still in use by numerous navies and air forces around the world, primarily for maritime patrol, reconnaissance, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare. A total of 734 P-3s have been built, and during 2012, it joined the handful of military aircraft including the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress and Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker that have served 50 years of continuous use by the United States military. The U.S. Navy's remaining P-3C aircraft will eventually be replaced by the Boeing P-8A Poseidon.

Role Maritime patrol aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed
Lockheed Martin
First flight November 1959
Introduction August 1962
Status Active
Primary users United States Navy
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Royal Australian Air Force
Brazilian Air Force
Number built Lockheed – 650,
Kawasaki – 107,
Total – 757
Unit cost US$36 million (FY1987)
Developed from Lockheed L-188 Electra
Variants Lockheed AP-3C Orion
Lockheed CP-140 Aurora
Lockheed EP-3
Lockheed WP-3D Orion
Developed into Lockheed P-7

Design

P-3A of VP-49 in the original blue/white colors
Underside view of a P-3C showing the MAD (rear boom) and external sonobuoy launch tubes (grid of black spots towards the rear)
Allison T56-A-14 prop

The P-3 has an internal bomb bay under the front fuselage which can house conventional Mark 50 torpedoes or Mark 46 torpedoes and/or special (nuclear) weapons. Additional underwing stations, or pylons, can carry other armament configurations including the AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-84E SLAM, AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, the AGM-65 Maverick, 127 millimetres (5.0 in) Zuni rockets, and various other sea mines, missiles, and gravity bombs. The aircraft also had the capability to carry the AGM-12 Bullpup guided missile until that weapon was withdrawn from U.S./NATO/Allied service.

The P-3 is equipped with a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) in the extended tail. This instrument is able to detect the magnetic anomaly of a submarine in the Earth's magnetic field. The limited range of this instrument requires the aircraft to be near the submarine at low altitude. Because of this, it is primarily is used for pinpointing the location of a submarine immediately prior to a torpedo or depth bomb attack. Due to the sensitivity of the detector, electro-magnetic noise can interfere with it, so the detector is placed in P-3's fiberglass tail stinger (MAD boom), far from other electronics and ferrous metals on the aircraft.

Crew complement

The crew complement varies depending on the role being flown, the variant being operated, and the country that is operating the type. In U.S. Navy service, the normal crew complement was 12 until it was reduced to its current complement of 11 in the early 2000s when the in-flight ordnanceman (ORD) position was eliminated as a cost-savings measure and the ORD duties assumed by the in-flight technician (IFT). Data for U.S. Navy P-3C only.

Officers:

  • three Naval Aviators
    • Patrol Plane Commander (PPC)
    • Patrol Plane 2nd Pilot (PP2P)
    • Patrol Plane 3rd Pilot (PP3P)
  • two Naval Flight Officers
    • Patrol Plane Tactical Coordinator (PPTC or TACCO)
    • Patrol Plane Navigator/Communicator (PPNC or NAVCOM)

NOTE: NAVCOM on P-3C only; USN P-3A &and P-3B series had an NFO Navigator (NAV) and an enlisted Airborne Radio Operator (RO)

Enlisted Aircrew:

  • two enlisted Aircrew Flight Engineers (FE1 and FE2)
  • three enlisted Sensor Operators
    • Radar/MAD/EWO (SS-3)
    • two Acoustic (SS-1 and SS-2)
  • one enlisted In-Flight Technician (IFT)
  • one enlisted Aviation Ordnanceman (ORD position no longer used on USN crews; duties assumed by IFT.)

The senior of either the PPC or TACCO will be designated as the aircraft Mission Commander (MC).

Engine loiter shutdown

Once on station, one engine is often shut down (usually the No. 1 engine – the left outer engine) to conserve fuel and extend the time aloft and/or range when at low level. It is the primary candidate for loiter shutdown because it has no generator. Eliminating the exhaust from engine 1 also improves visibility from the aft observer station on the port side of the aircraft.

On occasion, both outboard engines can be shut down, weight, weather, and fuel permitting. Long deep-water, coastal or border patrol missions can last over 10 hours and may include extra crew. The record time aloft for a P-3 is 21.5 hours, undertaken by the Royal New Zealand Air Force's No. 5 Squadron in 1972.

Specifications (P-3C Orion)

P-3 aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, and the United States Navy (with RAAF Dassault Mirage III)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 11
  • Length: 116 ft 10 in (35.6 m)
  • Wingspan: 99 ft 8 in (30.4 m)
  • Height: 38 ft 8 in (11.8 m)
  • Wing area: 1300 ft² (120.8 m²)
  • Airfoil: NACA 0014-1.10 (Root) – NACA 0012-1.10 (Tip)
  • Empty weight: 77,200 lb (35,000 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 135,000 lb (61,400 kg)
  • Useful load: 57,800 lb (26,400 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 142,000 lb (64,400 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Allison T56-A-14 turboprop, 4,600 shp (3,700 kW) each
  • Propellers: Four-bladed Hamilton Standard propeller, 1 per engine
    • Propeller diameter: 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 411 kn (750 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 328 kn (610 km/h)
  • Range: 2,380 nmi radius (4,400 km)
  • Combat radius: 1,346 nmi (2,490 km)three hours on-station at 1,500 feet
  • Ferry range: 4,830 nmi(8,944 km)
  • Endurance: 16 hours
  • Service ceiling: 28,300 ft (8,625 m)
  • Rate of climb: 3,140 ft/min (16 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 107 lb/ft² (530 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.03 hp/lb (0.06 kW/kg)

Armament

  • Guns: None
  • Hardpoints: 10 wing stations in total (3x on each wing and 2x on each wing root) and eight internal bomb bay stations with a capacity of 20,000 lb (9,100 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of:
    • Rockets: None
    • Missiles: ***Air-to-surface missile: AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-84 Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM-ER)
    • Bombs: ***Depth charges, MK20 Rockeye, MK80 Series (MK82, MK83, MK84) general purpose bombs, B57 nuclear bomb (US service only, retired 1993)
    • Other: ***Mk 44 (mostly retired from service), Mk 46, Mk 50, Mk 54 or MU90 Impact torpedoes
      • Mk 25, Mk 39, Mk 55, Mk 56, Mk 60 CAPTOR or Mk 65 Quickstrike naval mines
      • Stonefish naval mine (in Australian service)
      • Active and passive Sonobuoys

Avionics

  • RADAR: Raytheon AN/APS-115 Maritime Surveillance Radar, AN/APS-137D(V)5 Inverse Synthetic Aperture Search Radar
  • IFF: APX-72, APX-76, APX-118/123 Interrogation Friend or Foe (IFF)
  • EO/IR: ASX-4 Advanced Imaging Multispectral Sensor (AIMS), ASX-6 Multi-Mode Imaging System (MMIS)
  • ESM: ALR-66 Radar Warning Receiver, ALR-95(V)2 Specific Emitter Identification/Threat Warning
  • Hazeltine Corporation AN/ARR-78(V) sonobuoy receiving system
  • Fighting Electronics Inc AN/ARR-72 sonobuoy receiver
  • IBM Proteus UYS-1 acoustic processor
  • AQA-7 directional acoustic frequency analysis and recording sonobuoy indicators
  • AQH-4 (V) sonar tape recorder
  • ASQ-81 magnetic anomaly detector (MAD)
  • ASA-65 magnetic compensator
  • Lockheed Martin AN/ALQ-78(V) electronic surveillance receiver

Source

The information contained on this page is unclassified, approved for public dissemination and is released under CC-BY-SA Licensing Agreement.



Related