Tuesday, September 7, 2010

U.S. Navy P-3C Orion Anti-Submarine Warfare(ASW) Aircraft

The U.S. Navy has for a long time used the P-3C Orion a four engine turboprop aircraft for anti-submarine warfare. It was used extensively during the Cold War, long grueling flights searching for Russian submarines.

It has now evolved to include battlespace surveillance either at sea or over
land. Its long range 2,380 nautical miles, and long loiter time 3 hours have proved invaluable in recent
times. It can view the battle space and provide instant communication to ground troops, especially U.S, Marines.

The P-3C has advanced submarine surveillance equipment including sonobuoys, magnetic anomaly
 detection and direction frequency and ranging.

New updates include a modernized communications suite, Protected Instrument Landing System, IFF Mode S, Required Navigation Performance Area Navigation, GPS, and modernized cockpit instrumentation, as well as other modifications.

The Navy has shifted the P-3C operational emphasis to littoral regions and is improving the antisurface
warfare(ASUW) capabilities. It also increases the over-the-horizon capabilities and command, control, communications, and intelligence and improves survivability.

The fleet of planes will be 130 aircraft by the end of 2010. They will remain operational until the
P-8A Poseidon becomes fully operational.

The P-3C has a crew of three pilots, two naval flight officers, two flight engineers, three sensor operators, and one in-flight technician. Its armament consists of 20,000 pounds of ordnance including AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-84E Slam, AGM- 84H/K and AGM-65F Maverick missiles, Mk46/50/54.
With an airspeed of 411 knots maximum and cruise 328 knots.

Truly a plane to have a large place in the history of Naval Aviation.  A long and storied stalwart of the U.S. Navy. It's first flight was in 1959, operational P-3A 1962 and P-3C in 1969. The many crew members should be remembered and honored for their duty and dedication.

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996