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.


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

All active duty patrol squadrons have converted to the P-8A Poseidon. Two reserve squadrons continue to fly the P-3C and will do so until they move to the P-8A with the eventual sundown of the P-3.


Primary Function: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-surface Warfare (ASuW)
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)
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: 25