Courtesy of Wikimedia

P-3 Orion


The P-3 Orion is a four turboprop, antisubmarine and maritime surveillance aircraft that was developed in the 1960s and has been in use by the US military for 50 years.

Silver fox: In production since 1961, P-3 Orion celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. Lockheed is offering "Mid Life Upgrades" to support and replace any "fatigue-life-limiting" (i.e. no longer functioning) parts on older planes. These upgrades purport to extend plane lifetimes by 20 years.

A familiar face: P-3 Orions can be found across the globe. Currently, there are 435 deployed in 17 countries. Originally developed to bolster the US cold war fleet, P-3 Orions are now involved in a wide range of activities both military and civil - from humanitarian response to the 2010 BP Horizon oil spill operations to tours in Afghanistan and everything in between. Better yet, these aircrafts are also an option for monitoring MPAs!

Red, white and blue: With over 100 aircraft in operation, the US Navy is the biggest operator of P3-Orions. Civilian US government agencies, including Customs and Border, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and NASA, also operate the aircraft.

Locked and loaded: The P-3 Orion can be equipped with a number of different payloads to meet operational needs. These include infrared and long range electro-optical cameras and radars.


Maximum Operating Altitude: 8,625 meters
Maximum Cruise Speed: 411 knots
Range: 4,400 (maximum payload) to 8,944 kilometers (minimum payload)
Endurance: 7+ hours

Current operators include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Greece, Iran, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.
  • Company: Lockheed Martin

  • Type: Manned Aircraft

  • Direct Cost: $45 million for the plane (

  • Indirect Cost: Payloads not included

  • Link: Product Website

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