The Lockheed P-3 Orion - a short history

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Postby Naki » Tue May 08, 2007 10:51 pm

I thought I might put all my garbage (to some!) I store in my head and all the books and magazines that lie about the house about aircraft to some use.

This is an occasional series of some of my favourite FS aircraft (freeware and payware), which have a New Zealand connection and are available with a New Zealand paint scheme(s). I will include a brief history of the aircraft, its service in New Zealand and a short review of the FS aircraft.

A short history of the Lockheed P-3 Orion

The Lockheed P-3 Orion is derived from the Lockheed Electra airliner (the Electra saw service with TEAL/Air New Zealand in the 1960's) as a replacement for the US Navy Lockheed Neptunes. The Orion first flew in November 1959 whilst the first production example flew in April 1961. It is has since become the most prolific maritime patrol and anti submarine aircraft in the world. It serves in many air forces and navies including the Australian, Portuguese, Spanish, Brazilian, Pakistani, German, Argentinean, Chilean, Thai, Taiwanese, Japanese, South Korean, Iranian, Greek, Canadian and Norwegian forces. Although no longer in production, refurbished second-hand samples are in demand and recent sales include ex Dutch Orions to the German Navy and Portuguese Air Force and ex US Navy aircraft to Taiwan and South Korea and possibly India.

The Lockheed P-3 Orion in RNZAF Service

The Five Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3B Orions were ordered at a cost of 8 million pounds in March 1964 to replace the remaining Sunderland Flying Boats operating with No 5 Squadron out of the Hobsonville Flying boat base and Lauthala Bay in Fiji. Being land based aircraft the flying boat base that the RNZAF had in Lauthala Bay in Fiji had to close. The Orions were delivered in September and December 1966 to the Whenuapai Air Base, which is still their base. The RNZAF was the first air arm outside the US Navy to operate the Orion.

Ready for its next mission outside No 5 squadrons hanger at its Whenuapai base


Originally the RNZAF intended to purchase an ASW version of the C-130 so retaining commonality with the new C-130 fleet. It was later decided that because the Orion was already a fully developed and efficient ASW aircraft that this would be the best option.

Climbing out from Whenuapai


An extra second hand Orion for $19 million was purchased from the RAAF via Lockheed in 1985. At about the same time the Orion's had a $60 million dollar upgrade of the navigation and data systems under Project Rigel and redesignated P-3Ks. A further upgrade to give the Orions a life extension of twenty years was carried out under Project Kestrel in the late 90's. This upgrade was mainly structural and included replacing the outer wing assemblies, horizontal stabiliser, centre section lower wing planks and nacelle longerons. It was at this time the Orions were repainted in their current all grey scheme. An extensive upgrade of the ASW equipment has been planned for sometime but has repeatedly been turned down by the government, however an upgrade to the mission management, communication and navigation systems is currently underway. It also hoped that the Orions might one day be equipped with Harpoon or Maverick anti-shipping missiles. The Orions have carried out some trials dropping iron bombs from the bomb bay, which is normally reserved for torpedoes.

On partol over the Hauraki Gulf


The RNZAF Orions of No 5 Squadron have served all over the world from the Arabian Gulf to the Antarctica and have carried out SAR and surveillance missions all over the Pacific, the Tasman Sea and the Southern Ocean. They have also won the prestigious Fincastle trophy on a number of occasions competing with Royal Australian Air Force and Canadian Armed Forces Orions and Royal Air Force Nimrods. The RNZAF holds the record for the longest flight for a Orion which is 21.5 hours undertaken in 1972.

Bomb Bay doors open


The Orions are likely to remain in service until about 2020 when they will probably be replaced by (or a combination of) P-8 Poseidons (a 737 derivative replacing the P-3 Orion in the US Navy), UAVs or a maritime version of a smaller aircraft such as the Bombardier Q200 or ATR-72.

All hanging out approaching Whenuapai


Specifications and Performance

Power Plant: Four Alison T56-A14 (4,600 shp)

Length 36m

Wingspan: 30.4m

Height: 10.3m

Basic Weight: 30,450kgs

Gross Weight: 54,950kgs

Cruising Speed: 630 km/h

Ferry Range: 7,100 km

Radius of Action: 1,850 km with 4 hrs on station. Endurance of 15 hrs with two engines shut down.

Crew: Normally 12 comprising of two pilots, two flight engineers, two navigators (including tactical co-ordinator), one air electronics officer and four air electronics operators, one air ordnance man. Can carry a maximum of 21 personnel including crew

Bibliography:

Duxbury, David, Ross Mac Pherson and Ross Ewing; Aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Airforce; Heinaman; Auckland; 1987

Wright, Matthew, Kiwi Air Power, The History of the RNZAF; Reed Books, Auckland 1998

www.airforce.mil.govt.nz

The Flight Sim Model

The KBT Freeware Orion is certainly one of the better freeware models out there and was put together by the Japanese KBT sim team (the same people have also brought out a nice F-18E Super Hornet). Being Japanese the main emphasis of the sim model is the Japanese license built Lockheeed-Kawasaki P-3C. To date it has over 50,000 downloads on Avsim.

For a freeware aircraft the virtual cockpit (VC) is certainly impressive and is nearly "photorealistic"Â￾. The VC includes the cockpit area and does not extend any further down the fuselage. The VC overhead and side panels are not up to Captain Sim C-130 standard but the main panel gets close.

The Virtual Cockpit


The 2d panel is also nearly "photo realistic"Â￾ but is fairly basic and include only a few sub panels such as the throttle quadrant, some engine dials and the usual items such as the default GPS. There is a non realistic sub-panel that operates a few items such as the bomb bay doors, crew doors, lights and the auto-pilot. The 2d panel doesn't include sub-panels of the engineers, co-pilots and overhead panels.

Although not Captain Sim like in the number of special features there are some eye candy functions like opening bomb bay doors and a ladder that extends from the rear door when it is opened.

I have no quibbles with the sound package and it certainly sounds good to my ears.

The exterior of the model is modelled to a good standard although the RNZAF aircraft doesn't have the pylons on the wings. Maybe these might sprout from RNZAF Orions in the future to hang some missiles from. The model does not have the nose FLIR that is on the RNZAF Orions and there are probably aerials and things that protrude from the FS model that are not on the real thing and vice versa.

The one niggle I have with this model is that on my system it tends to cork screw in flight and I find it difficult to land properly. There are some other strange things with the flight dynamics that occur at times so maybe this is an area that needs tweaking. A nice CH yoke and foot pedals set may help - I only have a twist joystick.

There is a nice RNZAF repaint available by searching "newz.zip" on Avsim.

The KBT Orion is available from Avsim by searching"p-3c_.zip". You have nothing to lose since it costs $0. Go and get it!

Note - I should of turned off aircraft relections in my shots as it is considerably shinier than it should be!
Last edited by Naki on Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ian Warren » Tue May 08, 2007 11:48 pm

She's a Whicked Model Paul ! :) The KBT , love it ! ... The sound package for that Model and RNZAF Model for lower end pc's is a model devoled by a Stealthy KIWI :) , Lets hope he may stop and say hello :o Hey and , ..... 'A' , maybe a Seasprite ;)
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Postby Charl » Wed May 09, 2007 6:30 am

Great idea Paul, melding the background info with the sim - some real possibilities for high-grade photojournalism in your future!
Well done.
For those with an aggressive bent, there is an addon somewhere on AVSIM which simulates the dropping of torpedo's from this baby.
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Postby Alex » Wed May 09, 2007 4:43 pm

Excellent 'report' Paul, really good reading. :D

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Postby ardypilot » Wed May 09, 2007 5:38 pm

Learnt alot there paul, thanks for that insight!

I just looked up the P-8 Poseidon on Wiki, which looks sweet. Are there any FS versions available? And Charl- what is the torpedo addon in avsim.. I can't find one.
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Postby Naki » Wed May 09, 2007 8:37 pm

Thanks Guys - I'll do some more of these if people are interested and I am motivated.

Didn't know about the torpedo Charls - thanks for the pointer. I didn't mention that there are many different versions of the KBT Orion sim including a Hurricane Chaser, ECM warfare versions and a fire bomber.

A Seaspritre Ian? - that would be interesting especially if we had an ANZAC Frigate to land on.

Cheers

Paul
Last edited by Naki on Wed May 09, 2007 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Charl » Thu May 10, 2007 5:50 pm

Naki wrote:Thanks Guys - I'll do some more of these if people are interested and I am motivated.
Didn't know about the torpedo Charl - thanks for the pointer.  I didn't mention that there are many different versions of the KBT Orion sim including a Hurricane Chaser, ECM warfare versions and a fire bomber...Cheers
Paul

Be interesting to read about some of those variations, what they do, and how to replicate them in the sim.

Yeah! Ships are what we need now!
Ones that roll with weather, and sail through the spray...maybe the guys beavering away at FSXI will deliver, can't wait.
Trolly, you lazy young man, the torpedo file at AVSIM is p-3ctorp.zip and it is by Detlev Arwe.
I found it for you by going to flightsim.com which has a better search engine, and then searching the author's name on AVSIM.
This will not lightly be repeated before I see a lot more beta testing out of you!
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Postby ardypilot » Thu May 10, 2007 10:57 pm

Thanks for the links, both Naki (via PM) and Charl. Consider the torpedos succesfully tested:
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Last edited by ardypilot on Thu May 10, 2007 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Naki » Thu May 10, 2007 11:20 pm

Great shots Andrew! - explosions as well :) - must down load and try this out. They look more like depth charges in one of those shots or does it replicate those as well?
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Postby ardypilot » Fri May 11, 2007 8:58 am

They look more like depth charges in one of those shots or does it replicate those as well?

Not as far as I know, mind you, I don't know what a torpedo expoding really looks like.

An aweome effect which I didn't capture if the torpedo racing through the water before it explodes. Well worth the download!
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Postby AlisterC » Fri May 11, 2007 6:54 pm

Great plane, and this was something great to read on my cruise tonight. Cheers for posting it :D
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Postby BK-117 » Sun May 13, 2007 1:22 pm

Where did you get the repaint from?
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Postby Ian Warren » Sun May 13, 2007 1:43 pm

BK-117 wrote: Where did you get the repaint from?

Look for 'Gregory Hux' at Flightsim.com for the KBT model and all versions , low end pc's whicked model http://www.airforce.mil.nz/gallery/down ... wnload.htm
and NZ made .. also has a C130 by Adrian Braucsh .
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Postby BK-117 » Sun May 13, 2007 3:57 pm

I am just after that RNZAF repaint but can't find it. Already have the models
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Postby Ian Warren » Sun May 13, 2007 4:25 pm

All paints serving the KBT model by Gregory W. Hux at AVSIM :)
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Postby BK-117 » Sun May 13, 2007 4:44 pm

found it. thanks for you're help Ian
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Postby CathyH » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:06 pm

I am probably dating myself here, but I rmeber the Orion's predecessor well, the good old Sunderland. NZ had the honor to be the last Air Force to operate this great old plane
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Postby Ian Warren » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:22 pm

CathyH wrote:
QUOTE (CathyH @ Jan 31 2008, 04:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am probably dating myself here, but I rmeber the Orion's predecessor well, the good old Sunderland. NZ had the honor to be the last Air Force to operate this great old plane

Hi Cathy - did you have any photos you post and send me :) in the search for any snippet/photo info , that may show markings or other details on any off the RNZAF Sunderlands.
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Postby NormNZ » Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:37 am

Ian Warren wrote:
QUOTE (Ian Warren @ Jan 31 2008, 05:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Cathy - did you have any photos you post and send me :) in the search for any snippet/photo info , that may show markings or other details on any off the RNZAF Sunderlands.


Have tears in my eyes Cathy - someone else who speaks fondly of our Sunderlands :clap:

Ian, will scan the photos this weekend 4 U and have someone who has some colour pics and is going to send to me.

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Postby CathyH » Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:06 pm

Ian Warren wrote:
QUOTE (Ian Warren @ Feb 5 2008, 04:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Cathy - did you have any photos you post and send me :) in the search for any snippet/photo info , that may show markings or other details on any off the RNZAF Sunderlands.



MOTAT have a Sunderland I think, check their website

Cathy

PS If ADVENTURES OF THE SEASPRAY (and I remember the yacht, too, I was bought up in Picton and she was a Picton boat, the Fitheach Ban) comes out on DVD that has an episode featureing a close flyby by an RNZAF Sunderland
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