Definition/Scope: The P-3C Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft. While it was originally designed as a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft, the P-3C's evolved to include surveillance of the battlespace, either at sea or over land. Its long range and long loiter time proved invaluable during Operation Iraqi Freedom as it can view the battlespace and instantaneously provide that information to ground troops. The P-3C has advanced submarine detection sensors such as directional frequency and ranging (DIFAR) sonobuoys and magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) equipment. The avionics system is integrated by a general purpose digital computer that supports all of the tactical displays, monitors and automatically launches ordnance and provides flight information to the pilots. In addition, the system coordinates navigation information and accepts sensor data inputs for tactical display and storage. The P-3C can carry a mixed payload of weapons internally and on wing pylons. Some of the modernization programs include installation of a communications suite, Protected Instrument Landing System, IFF Mode S and Required Navigation Performance Area Navigation, GPS, common avionics improvements and modernized cockpit instrumentation. The USQ-78(V) Upgrade Program is improving the USQ-78(V) Single Advanced Signal Processor system Display Control Unit, a programmable system control processor that provides post processing of acoustic data and is the main component of the Update III acoustic configuration. All analog acoustic data recorders are being replaced with digital data recorders. The P-3 mission systems sustainment, necessary to ensure the P-3 remains a viable warfighter until P-8A Poseidon achieves full operational capability (FOC), include acoustic processing upgrades through air acoustic rapid COTS insertion (ARCI) and tech refreshes, mission systems obsolescence management, and the upgrade of P-3 tactical communications and networking through over-the-horizon C4I international marine/maritime satellite (INMARSAT).
Broader Terms:antisubmarine aircraft
Narrower Terms:P-3C Orion Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement Program
Related Terms:AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System