Introduction: The Lockheed Neptune was a workhorse of various airforces and naval air arms, serving in the role of a frontline ASW aircraft for decades with various countries all over the globe. One of these countries happened to be Great Britain.
Background: RAF Coastal Command was no stranger to ASW operations, having operated thousands of operations over vast stretches of ocean in terrible weather during the Second World War. The Atlantic Campaign was the longest single campaign of the War, and Coastal Command fought through it to the best of its abilities, famously using Sunderlands, Liberators, Flying Fortresses and Wellingtons against the U-Boat onslaught which imperilled the United Kingdom. This War-weary fleet was quickly retired after the War, with years of wear and tear, as well as the ocean air taking its toll on the aircraft. There soon came the need to replace these with new types, and a medium range maritime patrol aircraft was needed. A requirement was drawn up for one, and various companies responded with their proposals, including ones based off of the airliners and transport aircraft of the time, including the Viscount, Varsity and Ambassador. Ultimately, none of these were procured, as the RAF was supplied with US Navy surplus P2V Neptunes.
Description: The RAF were given Neptunes of the P2V-5 standard, outfitted with nose, dorsal and tail turrets armed with 20mm cannons. These could use American and British ammunition, though using the latter would require American links and loading systems. The type could also carry Dealer B torpedoes and anti-submarine bombs, in addition to standard weaponry such as Mk.44 torpedoes and others from the US, as they were virtually the same as standard USN aircraft. The USN also use unguided air-to-surface rockets on their P2V-5s, and whilst the RAF aircraft likely could still carry them (being essentially the same as their US Navy cousins), I am uncertain as to whether they were used in British service, and I am yet to come across evidence supporting it. Later Neptunes were later upgraded, with their nose and tail turrets replaced by a glazed fairing and MAD sting respectively. The type was also outfitted with the AN/APS-20 air-to-surface radar, to detect surface targets, specifically the snorkels of submerged diesel-electric submarines. The aircraft were provided under the Mutual Defense Aid Program, in order to strengthen both UK and NATO capabilities in a short time period, in order to counterbalance the growing military threat from the Soviet Union. No.217 Squadron was set up in 1952 to operate the type, disbanding in 1957 when the Neptune was replaced by the Shackelton. Other squadrons used the type too, mostly for conversion training or testing, with a total of 52 being procured.
Length: 75’ 4"
Engines: 2x Wright R-3350-30W
Maximum speed: 286 knots
Service ceiling: 24,300’
2x 20mm cannons in nose turret
2x 20mm cannons in rear turret
2x .50 cal machine guns in fuselage turret
Up to: 8,000 pounds of bombs, mines, torpedoes (including Delear B), and possibility of 16x 5" HVAR
Conclusion: In conclusion, I think that this would be an interesting addition to the UK that would complement existing and future vehicles, as well as being one which is easy to add, as many other nations used this type.
“Nimrod’s Genesis: RAF Maritime Patrol Projects and Weapons since 1945” by Chris Gibson
Warpaint Series No.51, Lockheed Neptune
WX556. Royal Air Force Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune MR.1 | Flickr
WX544. Royal Air Force Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune MR.1 | Flickr
WX518. Royal Air Force Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune MR.1 | Flickr
Aircraft Photo of WX493 | Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune MR1 | UK - Air Force | AirHistory.net #551850