RNoAF P3B Orion

Fridtjof Nansen

TYPE: Maritime reconnaissance fighter aircraft

4x AG 39A T-11 AGM-12 Bullpup missiles
Active and passive Sonobuoys
Countermeasuers flare & chaff
2x Aim 9L Sidewinder air to air missiled (optional)

Crew: 11
Length: 35.61m
Wingspan: 30.38 m
Height: 10.274 m
Wing area: 120.77 m2
Aspect ratio: 7.5
Airfoil: root: NACA 0014 modified; tip: NACA 0012 modified
Empty weight: 27,892 kg
Zero-fuel weight: 35,017 kg
Max takeoff weight:61,235 kg
MTOW normalmaximum permissible takeoff weight: 64,410 kg
Maximum landing weight: (MLW) 47,119 kg
Fuel capacity: 35,000 L usable fuel in 5 wing and fuselage tanks; 28,350 kg maximum fuel weight) ; gal (420 L) usable oil in 4 tanks

Powerplant: 4x Allison T56-A-14 turboprop engines, 4,910 shp (3,660 kW) each (equivalent)
Propellers: 4-bladed Hamilton Standard 54H60-77, 4.11 m diameter constant-speed fully-feathering reversible propellers

Maximum speed: 761 km/h at 4,572 m and 47,627 kg
Cruise speed: 607 km/h at 7,620 m and 49,895 kg
Patrol speed: 382 km/h at 457m and 49,895 kg
Stall speed: 246 km/h flaps up, 207 km/h flaps down
Combat range: 2,491 km (3 hours on station at 457 m)
Ferry range: 8,950 km
Endurance: 17 hours 12 minutes at 4,572 m on two engines 12 hours 20 minutes at 4,572 m on four engines
Service ceiling: 8,600m, 5,791m one engine inoperative
Rate of climb: 9.9 m/s
Time to altitude: 7,620 m in 30 minutes
Wing loading: 507 kg/m2
Power/mass: 0.1455 hp/lb (equivalent)
Take-off run: 1,292 m
Take-off distance to 15m: 1,673 m
Landing distance from 15 m: 844 m

RADAR: Raytheon AN/APS-115 Maritime Surveillance Radar, AN/APS-137D(V)5 Inverse Synthetic Aperture Search Radar
IFF: APX-72, APX-76, APX-118/123 Interrogation Friend or Foe (IFF)
EO/IR: ASX-4 Advanced Imaging Multispectral Sensor (AIMS), ASX-6 Multi-Mode Imaging System (MMIS)
ESM: ALR-66 Radar Warning Receiver, ALR-95(V)2 Specific Emitter Identification/Threat Warning
Hazeltine Corporation AN/ARR-78(V) sonobuoy receiving system
Fighting Electronics Inc AN/ARR-72 sonobuoy receiver
AQA-7 directional acoustic frequency analysis and recording sonobuoy indicators
AQH-4 (V) sonar tape recorder
ASQ-81 magnetic anomaly detector (MAD)
ASA-65 magnetic compensator
Lockheed Martin AN/ALQ-78(V) electronic surveillance receiver


The Orion was developed for the US Navy in the late 50s as a replacement for the P-2 Neptune. The starting point was the passenger plane Lockheed L-188 Elektra, and the first production model took to the wings on 15 April 1961. The primary task was to be able to track and attack submarines. The aircraft type has now been in service for more than 50 years in a number of air forces around the world. Norway controls and monitors vast sea areas in the North Atlantic and during the Cold War was NATO’s eyes towards the north and the Soviet Northern Fleet, which was constantly being modernised.

In the autumn of 1963, there was a requirement that the Air Force’s maritime aircraft had to have full anti-submarine capability. Albatross was already old and not suitable for this type of task. However, the Lockheed P-3 Orion could be an alternative, and it was assumed that one Orion would be as effective as three Albatrosses in this role. Norway succeeded in obtaining five new P-3B Orions on very favorable terms through the US Navy, because the Americans naturally had a vested interest in having a good overview of the Soviet navy and air forces. The planes were to be operated by 333 squadron, based on Andøya. They were equipped for maritime surveillance and warfare and largely adopted surveillance equipment already in use in the US Navy. The exception was sonar buoys to detect submarines. In the first years, these were produced under license in Norway. In 1974, the Air Force was also required to install equipment and aerials for electronic intelligence, and the work carried out by 333 Squadron was soon highly valued within NATO.

From 1 January 1977, an economic zone of 200 nautical miles was established. Later that year, a 200-mile fish protection zone came around Svalbard and in 1989 a 200-mile zone around Jan Mayen. This did not happen without problems, and the need for monitoring and presence increased dramatically. Therefore, in addition, two used P-3Bs were purchased for the Coast Guard in 1980. Beyond the 80s, however, it became clear that something had to be done with the old P-3B machines. The planes were ripe for a significant upgrade or simply replacement.

It ended with a favorable agreement with the US Navy for the purchase of four new P-3C Update III machines, while five of the old P-3B machines were delivered to Spain. The last two P-3B aircraft were rebuilt to P-3N standard and are now coast guard and training aircraft responsible for seven times Norway’s land area. All the aircraft were delivered in 1989. The P-3N is also equipped with environmental monitoring equipment. Orion has had many tasks during the years in Norwegian service. In addition to the primary tasks of military surveillance in the North Atlantic and the Barents Sea and anti-submarine operations such as in the Sognefjord in 1972, they have also participated in rescue operations. In 1979, a machine was sent to South Africa to participate in the search for the supertanker “Berge Vanga” which had gone missing in the South Atlantic at the end of October. In the Alexander Kielland accident on March 27, 1980, two Orions from 333 Squadron were the only the planes that could search after dark. Assistance has also been given in a research context, for example by observing ice conditions. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Norwegian Orions have also been involved in monitoring ship traffic in the Mediterranean in 2005 and 2006 in connection with the fight against terror, A P-3N was also sent to the Seychelles in 2011 to assist in the hunt for Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.

For a very short period during the cold war, Norway adopted a configuration for Aim 9l sidewinder missiles on the P3B orion, the exact years when this was done, is uncertain but this was only for a very short period


Would you like to see this in-game?
  • Yes
  • No
0 voters

This post was made by
Also known as