Military Factory logo

Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion Long-Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft

The Lockheed P-3 Orion was a further development of the civilian Electra passenger transport series.

 Updated: 7/12/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

The P-3 Orion aircraft is a product of Lockheed Martin, designed and accepted at a time when Lockheed could do little wrong in the way of earning government contracts. The P-3 was a direct requirement for a United States Navy aircraft that could be put into production quickly and was based on an existing aircraft design. From the passenger transport airliner - the Lockheed Electra - came the proposal for the P-3 which produced two YP3V-1 prototypes by the middle of 1958.

The four-engine aircraft has accommodations for up to ten personnel. Along with the standard pilot and co-pilot roles, specialists in the form of a flight engineer, acoustic systems operators (x2), flight deck navigator, MAD operator, tactical coordinator and two observers, the P-3 was operated by up to 10 personnel with any additional relief crew as well. Systems featured included the MAD mounting in an extending boom to the rear of the aircraft, a powerful search radar and an internal weapons bay that could field up to eight torpedoes or other anti-ship ordnance. Additionally, ten underwing hardpoints provided the P-3 with a large array of stores to choose form that included the AGM-86 Harpoon anti-ship missile system. The P-3 "C" model became the definitive P-3 Orion in the series. Introduced in 1969, the P-3C featured the new APS-115 radar system and upgraded existing P-3's in four progressive versions.

The P-3 Orion system serves in one form or another with forces in Japan (100 license built models by Kawasaki), South Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Portugal, Netherlands and Spain among others. The flexibility of the airframe has ensured a long life in maritime and research capacities. Though US production has since ended in 1995, the series has been kept on standby should production need to be resumed again.

Images Gallery


Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1962
Type: Long-Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft
National Origin: United States
Manufacturer(s): Lockheed Martin - USA
Production Total: 700

Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 10
Overall Length: 33.76 feet (10.29 meters)
Overall Width: 99.64 feet (30.37 meters)
Overall Height: 33.76 feet (10.29 meters)

Weight (Empty): 61,487 lb (27,890 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 142,441 lb (64,610 kg)

Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

Propulsion: 4 x Allison T-56-A-14 turboprop engines delivering 4,910shp each.

Maximum Speed: 473 mph (761 kph; 411 knots)
Maximum Range: 2,383 miles (3,835 km)
Service Ceiling: 28,297 feet (8,625 meters; 5.36 miles)

Armament / Mission Payload

Internal Weapons Bay:

8 x Torpedoes
8 x Depth Charges

Underwing Hardpoints (10):

8 x AGM-86 Harpoon anti-ship missiles
10 x Torpedoes
10 x Mines

Global Operators / Customers

Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Chile; Greece; Iran; Japan; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Pakistan; Portugal; South Korea; Spain; Thailand; United Kingdom; United States

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

YP3V-1 - Prototype of which two were produced.
P3V-1 - Early Series Model Designation
P-3 - Standard Series Model Designation
P-3A - Initial Production Model
P-3B - Updated Patrol Model Variant
P-3C - Fitted with Univac digital computer; improved attack system.
P-3F - Exported to Iran
AP-3C - Australian-standardized upgrade from P-3C models; fitted with Elta radar system.
CP-140 "Aurora" - Exported to Canada
EP-3A - Electronic Intelligence Aircraft
EP-3E "Aries" - Elint Model
EP-3J - EW Trainer Model
NP-3A - Trial Platform Model
RP-3A - Oceanographic Reconnaissance Model
TP-3A - Crew Trainer Model
UP-3A - Utility Transport Variant
VP-3 - VIP Passenger Transport Model; conversion of early A/B models.
WP-3A - Weather Reconnaissance Model