P-3C Orion -Low-Vis Model
The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft. In February 1959 the United States Navy (USN) awarded Lockheed a contract to develop a replacement for the aging P2V Neptune. The P-3 Orion initially designated P3V was based on Lockheed s successful L-188 Electra airliner and had its maiden flight on November 1959. It is primarily operated by the USN the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force the Royal Australian Air Force and the Republic of Korea Navy. Despite its high performance the P-3 has not been adapted into gunship ground attack or aerial refueling tanker roles. Since its production in July 1962 it has had three major models: the P-3A the P-3B and the P-3C. Paint schemes have changed from overall postwar blue to white and gray in the 1960s and low-vis gray in the 1980s. The last P-3 Orion aircraft rolled off the production line at the Lockheed plant in April 1990. The P-3 Orion has been serving as the Navy s frontline land-based maritime patrol aircraft since the 1960s. It still remains the USN s sole land-based anti-submarine warfare aircraft. Its long range and long loiter time have proved to be invaluable during Operation Iraqi Freedom as it was capable of viewing the battlespace while instantaneously providing that information to ground troops especially the US Marines.