The P-3C Orion is a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft. It's mission includes surveillance of the battlespace, either at sea or above land with a long-range and long loiter time, the P-3C has proved to be an invaluable during overseas contingency operations.


The P-3C Orion continues at the Navy’s frontline, serving as the Navy's land-based maritime patrol aircraft since the early 1960s. Today's P-3C Update III is the baseline configuration. It has advanced submarine detection sensors, Magnetic Anomaly Detection equipment and may carry a mixed payload of weapons internally and on wing pylons. The P-3C Block Modification Upgrade has Update III functionalities with more modern technology that provides an improved acoustic sensor. The P-3C Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement Program includes enhancements in sensors, communications, displays and controls, survivability and vulnerability, and weapons capability.

Continuing structural engineering and analysis of fatigue data is conducted under the Fatigue Life Management Program (FLMP). Ongoing analysis has led to the grounding of 39 P-3C aircraft since December 2007 due to concerns of fatigue damage in portions of the lower outer wing. This has led the Navy to develop and execute a comprehensive recovery plan that include accelerated FLMP efforts, use of on-hand material to immediately begin required modifications, and a dual-path approach to recovery that include both installation of complete outer wings and targeted material replacement. Ongoing monitoring allows the P-3C to continue its operation during the fleet’s transition to the P-8A Poseidon aircraft for maritime patrol and reconnaissance.


Primary Function: Anti-Submarine Warfare  and Anti-surface Warfare
Contractor: Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company
Propulsion: Four Allison T-56-A-14 turboprop engines (4,600 hp, each)
Length: 116.7 feet (35.57 meters)
Height: 33.7 feet (10.27 meters)
Wingspan: 99.6 feet (30.38 meters)
Maximum Gross Takeoff: 139,760 pounds (63,394 kilograms)
Airspeed: 411 knots; Cruise, 328 knots
Ceiling: 28,300 feet (8,626 meters)
Range: 2,380 nautical miles radius; for three hours on station at 1,500 feet, 1,346 nautical miles
Crew: Three pilots, two naval flight officers, two flight engineers, three sensor operators and one in-flight technician
Armament: AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-84K SLAM-ER, AGM-65F Maverick missiles, Mk46/50/54 torpedoes, rockets, mines and depth bombs.

Program Status

Production Phase: Sustainment
Inventory: 79

--This page was updated on February 2017--


P-3C Orion

P-3C Orion

The P-3C Orion is a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft. The P-3C's mission has to include surveillance of the battlespace, either at sea or over land. Its long-range and long loiter time have proved invaluable assets throughout the overseas contingency operation.

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