The P-3 Orion is a peerless airborne hunter. Its reputation as the ultimate submarine finder was earned through more than 45 years of service, doing what it does best "Hunt". The P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States navy and introduced in the 1960's. Lockheed Martin based the Orion on the L-188 Elecrtra commercial airliner.
The P-3 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.
Deployed from land bases, Orion crews never have to live aboard a ship. Six month deployments do however place squadrons anywhere from Iceland to Italy.
The P-3 Orion is easily recognizable by its distinct tail stinger or "MAD Boom", used for the magnetic detection of submarines. This instrument is able to detect the magnetic anomaly generated by a submarine in the Earth's magnetic field. The limited range of this instrument requires the aircraft to be overhead or very close to the submarine. Because of this it is primarily used for pinpointing the location of a submarine prior to a torpedo attack. Due to the incredibly sensitive nature of the detector, electromagnetic noise can interfere with its operation. For this reason, the detector is placed in P-3's distinct tail stinger or "MAD Boom", far away from the rest of the electronics on the aircraft.
The P-3 Orion has an internal bomb bay under the front fuselage which can house a variety of weapons internally such as the conventional Mark 50 torpedoes, Mark 46 torpedoes or special (nuclear) weapons. Additional under wing stations, or wing pylons, are equipped to carry such armament configurations including the AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-84E SLAM, AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, the AGM-65 Maverick, 127 millimeters (5 in) Zuni rockets, and various other sea mines, missiles, and gravity bombs.
Over the years, the P-3 Orion 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, and anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare. A total of 734 P-3s have been built, and by 2012, it will join the handful of military aircraft such as the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress which have served 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer, in this case, the United States Navy.
Boeing: P-8A Poseidon
The P-8A Poseidon is a true multi-mission platform. On board P-8A, all sensors contribute to a single fused tactical situation display, which is then shared over both military standard and Internet protocol data links, allowing for seamless delivery of information amongst U.S. and coalition forces. As an armed platform, P-8A independently closes the kill chain, while simultaneously providing data to everyone on the network.
The P-8A is the latest military derivative aircraft to benefit from a culture of technical innovation and the One Boeing approach to manufacturing. The P-8A is a derivative of the highly successful and reliable Next-Generation 737. The P-8A has the fuselage of a 737-800 and the wings of a 737-900. Modifications to the baseline commercial aircraft are incorporated into the aircraft in-line. In the past, commercial aircraft were sent to modification centers where they were taken apart and rebuilt to meet military specifications. The P-8A is Boeing's first military derivative aircraft to incorporate structural modifications to the aircraft as it moves through the commercial line.
Boeing's team is developing the P-8A Poseidon for the U.S. Navy, which plans to purchase 117 aircraft. As part of the flight test program, the Navy will have three P-8As at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., in 2010. Initial operational capability is scheduled for 2013.
The Navy's P-3 Orion's serve their country well. NavyDads salutes them and all who have flown aboard!
Don't know if you are still checking this thread, but I was an OT (Ocean Systems Technician) stationed at NavFac Adak in 1974 and 1975. I guess the Navy changed the name of the rating at some point. They used to call us "Oyster Trainers", a derogatory reference to the cover story we were supposed to give about our job. We were doing "Oceanographic Research", not tracking Russian Submarines. Does that ring any bells? I was lucky enough to fly a couple of times with the AWs. They did their level best to scare the bejeezus out of us. They didn't have to try that hard. Sitting in the middle seat on final approach for landing on the Rock was enough. We came out of the cloud deck at about 500 feet and the runway was right there.
J & G's Mom(AK Mom) said:
My days in the USN were as a OTA (Ocean System Analysist) and we tracked submaines (passive sonar) from Petro (Russia to SD). Check out IUSS/Caesar and you will have a better idea or happen to watch the movies Hunt for Red October and you will even have a better insight. Anyway the rate is no longer in existance and we are now Sonar Techs and the number of NavFacs have dewindled to only a few. Have to laugh in the Civ world we are now classified as general admins. If they only knew what our job entailed and what we had to learn was = to almost what a Nuke was required to learn. We actually worked with the AWs who flew P3s on Adak at NAS. Yes, Adak was home for 4 years and was home for many who retired in AK...Not anyone can say they were on Adak (My first born was born on the Rock and now he is a salior of his own right). Our job as the NavFac was to locate the unit then the AWs would fly and drop lunch boxes (bouys) on the target. If we were not busy they would let us fly with them. Then we would corrdinate with WB Islnd. Yes, the days of 2/2/2/80 hrs off and 12/12/24/12/12 (96 hours off).
I was an AW (Acoustic) with VP-23 at NAS Brunswick, Maine in the late 80's and early 90's. I loved that airplane then and miss it today!
Hi Jim. AWO is the new designation for the rate I was in. Now all aircrew are AW, with the third letter designating the specific job they do. I was East Coast when I was in, and never went to the Pacific, but I sure wish I had. BZ to your sailor for picking a great rate! (I'm biased...they're all good!)