Monday, April 29, 2019

Orion's Long Farewell

I think history will show that there is a certain class of aircraft whose design, maintenance, fit-for-purpose and operational success make them exceptional.

On the American side post-WWII, you have to put the C-130, F-4, A-4, F-16 & F-15 in that exalted group. A strong argument can be made that the P-3 Orion belongs there as well.

She's left for her last deployment in American livery, but as so many other nations fly her, she'll be with us for a few more years yet. 

Not bad for a converted 1950s era airliner.
The last of the U.S. Navy’s active duty P-3C Orion patrol planes are on their final overseas deployments, split between bases in Bahrain and Japan. The six-month rotations in the Middle East and Pacific regions come as the service prepares to retire all of its Orions in active duty units and replace them completely with the new P-8A Poseidon.

The Whidbey News-Times was the first to report that P-3Cs from Patrol Squadron Four Zero (VP-40), the “Fighting Marlins,” left their main base at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island in Washington state at the end of March 2019 for their sundown deployments to Sheik Isa Air Base in Bahrain and Kadena Air Base in Japan. These Orions replaced their counterparts from Patrol Squadron Four Six (VP-46), the “Grey Knights,” at those locations. VP-46’s planes returned to Whidbey Island earlier in April 2019.

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