The Neptune in Australian Service

L-426-42-11 Neptune
P2V-5/P-2E


 

The P2V-5 Neptune Enters RAAF Service

Number 11 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron was formed at No. 82 Wing Amberley with two Lincolns (A73-26 & A73-27) on 1 November 1950 before moving to Pearce, WA. The first Neptune (A89-592) arrived at Pearce on 23 November 1951 with A89-595 following on 30 November. Total flying hours for December 1951 were; Lincoln 11:40 and Neptune 12:55. By the end of January 1952 flying hours had risen to; Lincoln 35:15 and Neptune 50:05. This was achieved with still only two Neptunes on strength. The frequent take-offs and landings soon took their toll on the Pearce runway so training flights operated out of Guildford where possible. By mid February 1952, A89-592 was due for a 180 hourly inspection with A89-595 falling due in mid March. Parts shortages became a major problem with 595 held up awaiting a propeller and a power recovery turbine. Even nose wheel tyres were in short supply but it was found that nose wheel tyres from the Convair 440 could be substituted subject to limitations.

By early February 1953, the Squadron had its full establishment of twelve Neptunes but parts shortages continued to be a problem. For the month of March, serviceability was an "extremely low 29.91% although 175 hours flying was achieved".

On 21 May 1953, the title of the Squadron changed from No.11 (General Reconnaissance) to No.11 (Maritime Reconnaissance) Squadron.

Serviceability issues and the Squadron's exasperation came to a head in July 1953 when Air Force HQ were notified; "The Squadron has now been operating two aircraft for one year and twelve aircraft for nine months on what was originally intended to be an engine spares range to cover the needs of two aircraft for six months. In only the last few days, has any information become available as to the whereabouts of the now sorely needed 'Major' engine spares range. The shortage of main wheel tyres is now critical. Two are known to be awaiting air shipment from the USA."

These matters were partially addressed on 14 July 1953 when Air Force HQ directed 11 Squadron to nominate five Neptunes as Unit Equipment with the remaining six to be downgraded to Unit Equipment Category B storage. The six aircraft selected for storage were A89-303 to A89-308 inclusive. Of these six, four were to be stored at a location remote from Pearce. Even with six aircraft downgraded to storage, they still had to be maintained in storage and this was still a significant maintenance burden on the Squadron, hence the decision to store four of the aircraft at a remote location. This remote location was Archerfield in Brisbane where the aircraft would be under the care of No. 3 Aircraft Depot (Amberley). The remaining one aircraft (A89-309) was apparently assigned to ARDU for test purposes. The following table lists the four Neptunes that were stored at Archerfield.

 

Serial
Depart Pearce
for Archerfield
Back with 11 Sqn
at Richmond by
A89-305
25NOV53
10JAN55
A89-306
01DEC53
10JAN55
A89-308
08DEC53
10JAN55
A89-307
15DEC53
10JAN55

On 2 December 1954, 3AD were instructed
to upgrade these four aircraft to fly-away status.

 

In July 1953, 11 Squadron advised AFHQ that their aircraft were not fully operationally equipped as they were awaiting the following from the US:

(a) Magnetic Anomaly Detector.
(b) APA5 Radar Bomb/Rocket Sight.
(c) APA57B Ground Stabilization Equipment.
(d) APA74 Radar Pulse Analyzer.
(e) APA69 Super HF Direction Finder.
(f) Retro - Pneumatic Ejector.

During August 1953, the mainwheel tyre shortage became "extremely critical" with only two tyres having been received from the US by air. This shortage was finally resolved in September when the S.S. Cumulus arrived with 45 tyres. This same month it was reported that "the Squadron lacks the manpower for major servicing with 4 out of 5 Neptunes u/s at the end of the month."

On 14 August 1953, the Squadron received official notification from RAAF HQ that the Neptunes were to be modified as follows:

(a) The ERCO 11A tail turret is to be replaced with MAD.
(b) The Aero 9B or 9C nose turret is to be replaced by a nose observation post.

All surplus equipment is to be offered for resale to the US.

Earlier, on 3 July 1953, a meeting at Air Force HQ decided to submit for approval a case for moving 11 Squadron from Pearce to Richmond. This was eventually approved and the Squadron relocated to Richmond during May 1954 with all aircraft being flown to their new base between 24-27 May.

The Neptunes then underwent a series of modifications which are detailed later on this page.

P2V-5/P-2E operations began to wind down in late 1966 with A89-301 being retired to the School of Radio at Laverton on 19 October 1966 as Neptune Instructional Airframe No. 1 . On 30 November, A89-306 arrived at Laverton to swap engines with A89-301 before returning to Richmond three days later. On 20 April 1967, A89-310 was flown to Wagga where it became Neptune Instructional Airframe No. 3. One of the last Neptune sorties recorded was flown on 7 August 1967 when A89-311 flew a photo sortie to assess the effects of the new Sydney Airport runway extension on coastal currents and erosion in Botany Bay. In November 1967, it was reported that "the Squadron continues to fly the P-2E at a reduced rate throughout the month with emphasis on pilot continuation and the renewal of instrument ratings prior to departure for the P-3B Orion conversion course". This is the last mention of Neptunes in the 11 Squadron ORB. The following tables summarise the delivery and disposal of the RAAF's P2V-5s.

 

P2V-5/P-2E FLEET


MSN RAAF PREV BU NO DEL 11SQN
(Source)
NAME
426-5022 A89-301 A89-592 133641
23NOV51 (1)
-
426-5021 A89-302 A89-595 133640
30NOV51 (1)
-
426-5093 A89-303 A89-294 133646
06OCT52 (1)
-
426-5092 A89-304 A89-545 133645
06OCT52 (1)
The Carpetbaggers
426-5086 A89-305 A89-983 133642
24DEC52 (3)
-
426-5094 A89-306 A89-228 133647
03DEC52 (1)
A Hard Day's Night
426-5088 A89-307 A89-589 133644
30JAN53 (3)
Thunderballs
426-5087 A89-308 A89-736 133643
03DEC52 (1)
-
426-5110 A89-309 A89-694 133648
06FEB53 (3)
Pussy Galore
426-5111 A89-310 A89-236 133649
24DEC52 (3)
-
426-5112 A89-311 A89-225 133650
30JAN53 (3)
La Dolce Vita
426-5122 A89-312 A89-405 133651
30JAN53 (3)
The Longest Day



Notes P2V-5

1
The first two aircraft (A89-301 & 302) were commenced as P2V-4 but were brought up close to P2V-5 standard on the production line. Nevertheless, there were differences between these two aircraft and the following ten, principally in their electrical systems.
2
Initially, RAAF serials were "scrambled" for security reasons. These serials are shown in the second column headed PREV. On 15AUG52, a "simplified numbering system" was introduced. By this time only two aircraft (592 & 595) had been delivered and the 11 Sqn ORB suggests that these aircraft were repainted as 301 & 302 on 22AUG52.
3
Mark 1 - Initially all P2V-5 were designated as Mark 1.
4
Mark 2 - With the removal of the nose and tail turrets and the addition of a clear nose and a MAD boom, the aircraft were redesignated as Mark 2.
5
Mark 3 - With the removal of the dorsal turret they were redesignated as Mark 3.
6
Mark 4 - With the addition of Westinghouse J-34 jet pods they were redesignated P2V-5F Mark 4.
7
The P2V-5 designation was changed to P-2E in line with U.S. Tri-Service Designation Changes which came into effect on 18 September 1962. This policy was also adopted by the RAAF.
8
All P2V-5/P-2E served with No 11 Squadron RAAF, initially at Pearce, WA but by 31MAY54 the Squadron had completed its move to Richmond, NSW. All aircraft were flown to Richmond during the period 24-27MAY54.
9
Aircraft names shown in the table above appeared on the aircraft only towards the end of their service (circa 1964/1965). The names are derived from contemporary movie titles with the exception of Pussy Galore which was a character in the James Bond film Goldfinger. It is believed that these names were still on the aircraft when they were scrapped.
10
Delivery dates are arrival at 11 Sqn Pearce, WA.

The ORB does not show serial numbers for deliveries on 24DEC52 and 30JAN53, just the total number of aircraft delivered on that date. Neither source provides a complete and consistent list of delivery dates.

A89-309 went u/s at Richmond on its delivery flight with prop problems. A replacement prop was positioned from Pearce to Richmond on 23 December 1952 by Dakota A65-104. Allowing for the Christmas stand-down, this probably explains why A89-309 did not arrive at Pearce until 06FEB53. A89-309 does not appear in the ORB until 11MAR53.

 

P2V-5/P-2E DISPOSAL

 

SERIAL
LAST FLIGHT
DISPOSAL
A89-301
19OCT66
Flown to Laverton as Instructional Airframe No. 1.
Burned sometime after SEP75.
A89-302
20MAR67
Flown to Wagga as Instructional Airframe No. 2.
Held by the RAAF Museum, Point Cook.
A89-303
unknown
Instructional Airframe No. 4.
Scrapped at Richmond by 26JUL76.
A89-304
18DEC67
Flown to Bankstown.
Broken up NOV68.
A89-305
15DEC67
Flown to Bankstown.
Broken up NOV68.
A89-306
15DEC67
Flown to Bankstown.
Broken up NOV68.
A89-307
18DEC67
Flown to Bankstown.
Broken up NOV68.
A89-308
04FEB59
Crashed returning to Richmond with an engine on fire.
A89-309
15DEC67
Flown to Bankstown.
Broken up sometime after JUN69.
A89-310
20APR67
Flown to Wagga as Instructional Airframe No. 3.
Burned sometime between 1970-77.
A89-311
18DEC67
Flown to Bankstown.
Broken up sometime after OCT69.
A89-312
18DEC67
Flown to Bankstown.
Broken up NOV68.

 

 

The P2V-5 Jet Pod Mod

During 1959, the remaining eleven P2V-5s (A89-308 had crashed) were flown back to Lockheed at Ontario, California for the fitment of Westinghouse J-34 jet engines in pods under the wings. Thus modified, the aircraft were known as P2V-5F (Mark 4). These dates refer to movements at RAAF Richmond, NSW. (Source: 1)


AIRCRAFT
DEPARTED
RETURNED
A89-302
25JUN59
20OCT59
A89-310
25JUN59
06OCT59
A89-312
25JUN59
06OCT59
     
A89-304
25JUL59
20OCT59
A89-306
25JUL59
14NOV59
A89-307
25JUL59
14NOV59
     
A89-303
24AUG59
07DEC59
A89-305
24AUG59
07DEC59
A89-309
24AUG59
29DEC59
     
A89-301
25SEP59
29DEC59
A89-311
25SEP59
31DEC59


 

 

 

Other P2V-5 Mods

In February 1954, A89-309 went to ARDU (Aircraft Research and Development Unit) for a trial installation of ADRIS (Automatic Dead Reckoning Instrument System). This system became necessary after the fitment of MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detector) and was intended to maintain a navigational plot while manoeuvring in pursuit of multiple MAD returns. Initial "excessive unserviceability" was attributed to the age of the equipment. Because of ongoing delays in obtaining the necessary equipment, installation of ADRIS did not begin in earnest until April 1955 when modification of A89-312 was begun at 2AD and 11 Sqn began the fitment to A89-311. Prior to this, A89-309 was the only Neptune equipped and available for training. The system was progressively installed in the remaining aircraft. Another need arising from the introduction of MAD was for a local supply of sea markers. At the end of March 1955, it was reported that the Squadron had enough equipment to fit Pneumatic Retro Marine Marker Ejector to four aircraft.

Another system fitted to the P2V-5s and the P2V-7s was SARAH (Search And Rescue And Homing). The system was based on the wartime Rebecca/Eureka which was first produced in Britain in 1943 and subsequently produced in the United States. The SARAH system consisted of a small radio beacon transmitter-receiver which could be attached to lifejackets. On entering the water, pulling a toggle would release a coiled aerial and cause the beacon to transmit a signal on the International Distress Frequency. The aircraft would home in on the signal, and when the aircraft was sighted, the person in the water would use the transmit function to speak to the aircraft, which would drop a Lindholme life raft and/or vector a rescue craft to the position. The SARAH aircraft installation required two receive antennae, one on each side of the nose and a transmit antenna on the belly. The receive antenna was of a Yagi type seemingly identical to the wartime Rebecca antenna. (The name Rebecca was derived from Recognition of Beacons). The P2V-5s were still carrying the system on retirement but the SARAH antennae were removed from the P2V-7s in the early seventies.

 

The SARAH receive antenna on the port side nose of P2V-7 A89-277. The installation was the same on the P2V-5.

 

Although the P2V-5s were delivered with three gun turrets fitted, the aircraft were often operated without the guns themselves. This was taken a step further on 14 August 1953 when RAAF HQ issued a directive stating that the nose and tail gun turrets were to be removed and replaced by a nose observation post and a Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) installation respectively. The first aircraft to be modified was A89-311 which was handed over to 2AD at Richmond on 15 December 1954. In March 1955, 2AD advised that the target delivery dates of the first two MAD aircraft were 22 April 1955 (A89-311) and 13 May 1955 (A89-312). After this conversion, the aircraft were classified as Mark 2. The removed gun turrets were to be offered for resale to the USA. The following table lists the aircraft in order of conversion with dates of issue to 2AD and return to No. 11 Squadron. It should be noted that the "Days at 2AD" defines how long the aircraft was on charge to 2AD. It doesn't necessarily indicate that the aircraft was being worked on for this entire period. Given that 11 Sqn and 2AD were on the same airfield, it is likely that for much of the time the aircraft were merely parked. Given that four P2V-5s were stored at Archerfield in Brisbane from November-December 1953 to January 1955 it is clear that the RAAF had more Neptunes than they could maintain or crew so there was evidently no pressure to convert all twelve aircraft as soon as possible.

 

The Mark 2 Mod

SERIAL
START
FINISH
DAYS AT 2AD
A89-311
15DEC54
05MAY55
141
A89-312
07FEB55
27MAY55
109
A89-302
22MAR55
18SEP55
180
A89-303
31MAR55
05MAY55
35
A89-301
27APR55
22MAY56
391
A89-308
20OCT55
13SEP56
329
A89-306
08DEC55
13SEP56
280
A89-304
09DEC55
22MAR56
104
A89-305
25MAY55
24JAN56
244
A89-307
06APR56
10FEB58
675
A89-310
19JUN56
23APR57
308
A89-309
23APR57
29OCT58
554


Neither the Aircraft Record Cards nor the ORB specifically mention the Mk 3 conversion (removal of the dorsal gun turret). This work was probably performed in conjunction with other planned maintenance.

During 1960 and again in 1961, all eleven remaining P2V-5s were cycled through the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) factory at Avalon, Victoria for the incorporation of Mods 208 and 201.

Mod 208 was the fitment of the WOMBAT navigation aid. The initial fitment was to A89-306 which was delivered to CAC at Avalon on 4 March 1957. In June and October 1957, staff from the Weapons Research Establishment visited 11 Sqn at Richmond for discussions on WOMBAT. On 1 June 1958, A89-310 was flown to Laverton for WOMBAT fitment prior to commencing a series of evaluation flights. However, it was not until 19 January 1960 that the program began in earnest with A89-304 being flown to CAC at Avalon. The last aircraft to be modified (A89-312) returned to 11 Sqn on 9 August 1960.

Mod 201 was the installation of an engine fire extinguishing system, the need for which was demonstrated by the loss of A89-308 on 4 February 1959.

The following table lists the relevant aircraft movements between Richmond and Avalon.

 

P2V-5
START
FINISH
START
FINISH
SERIAL
NO.
MOD208
WOMBAT
MOD201
FIRE EXTINGUISHER
A89-301
18MAR60
01APR60
05MAY61
02JUN61
A89-302
17JUN60
22JUL60
31MAR61
05MAY61
A89-303
31MAY60
08JUN60
31AUG60
04NOV60
A89-304
18JAN60
04MAR60
31MAR61
29JUN61
A89-305
09MAY60
07JUN60
21APR61
12MAY61
A89-306
11APR60
21APR60
07JUL61
04AUG61
A89-307
14APR60
17MAY60
19MAY61
16JUN61
A89-308
CRASHED 04FEB59
A89-309
05MAR60
11APR60
28JUL61
18AUG61
A89-310
13AUG60
05SEP60
17MAR61
14APR61
A89-311
15FEB60
18MAR60
16JUN61
07JUL61
A89-312
08JUL60
09AUG60
29JUN61
28JUL61

 

It is noteworthy that, despite the previous loss of A89-308 to an engine fire, the remaining 11 P2V-5s were flown to the U.S. and back before fire extinguishing systems were fitted in Australia. This surprising sequence of events has been confirmed by someone who was with the Squadron at the time. Nevertheless, just one week after the first P2V-5F arrived back in Australia after the Jet Pod Mod, a meeting was held at 11 Squadron to discuss the fitment of fire extinguishers and WOMBAT.

In the midst of Neptunes returning from the USA after the Jet Pod Mod, a meeting was held at 11 Squadron on 4 November 1959 to discuss Neptune Mod 180, the "Bow-Observer Nose". On 26 November, A89-310 was flown from Richmond to Laverton and return for specification finalisation of the Tactical Nose set up which is presumed to be the same as the previously mentioned Mod 180.

 

 

 

L-726-45-17 Neptune
P2V-7/SP-2H




The P2V-7 Neptune Enters RAAF Service

 

When No. 10 Squadron received its first three Neptunes on 10 March 1962, it was fortunate to receive the "broken-in" model P2V-7. Previously the Squadron had operated the Avro Lincoln in the maritime reconnaissance role but these aircraft had all been retired due to structural problems and the Squadron's establishment was only one Dakota (A65-70) and two Winjeels (A85-403 & 444) by the time the first Neptunes arrived. These aircraft were used mainly for pilot continuation training and instrument rating renewals although the Dakota was also used in the SAR role as required.

The P2V-7s were collected from Lockheed's Burbank plant by crews from No. 10 Squadron and delivered via Barbers Point, Hawaii, Canton Island and Nadi, Fiji. The first three aircraft were scheduled to arrive in Townsville on 10 March 1962 and for the occasion a welcoming ceremony complete with dignitaries and the RAAF Band was planned. The P2V-7 may have been the "broken-in" model but it still had the same engines and deliveries got off to an inauspicious start when A89-272 was delayed at Canton Island requiring an engine change. Word of the delay was received in Townsville late on 6 March and at midnight, C-130A Hercules A97-213 of No. 36 Squadron departed Richmond for Townsville after only two hours notice to uplift a replacement engine, ground staff and their tools. The Hercules refuelled in Nadi and arrived at Canton Island 17 hours after leaving Richmond. The two accompanying Neptunes (A89-271 & A89-273) had continued on to Nadi where they awaited the delayed A89-272 which departed Canton Island on the morning of 9 March. The three aircraft departed Nadi for Townsville on 10 March to rendezvous off the Queensland coast with Dakota A65-70 for air-to-air photos. The formation of three Neptunes over-flew RAAF Townsville on schedule at 1430 hours. Although rarely referred to as such, the P2V-7s were regarded as Mark 4s from the time of delivery, but surprisingly they still had no engine fire extinguishers. Nevertheless, within days of the second flight of three Neptunes (A89-270, 274 & 275) arriving in Townsville on 29 March, A89-272 was on its way to Laverton for a trial fitment of fire extinguishers. The third delivery flight (A89-276 & 278) arrived in Townsville on 19 April but leaving behind A89-277 which was delayed in Hawaii with engine trouble - for nine days! Another two aircraft (A89-279 & 281) arrived on 24 May and the final aircraft (A89-280) arrived on 25 May after a one day delay in Nadi - with engine trouble! This completed the Squadron's establishment of twelve Neptunes.

The first large scale training exercise for the Squadron commenced on 4 June 1962 when five Neptunes flew in formation over Townsville before heading for Richmond. For the remainder of the year and into early 1963, there were many meetings and trips to Laverton in connection the fitment of fire extinguishers. However, the modification programme did not begin in earnest until 1 November 1963 when A89-277 flew to Avalon to become the first aircraft to be fully fitted with fire extinguishers. By 3 December 1964, the final aircraft to be modified (A89-279) was back in Townsville.

In the meantime, the Squadron commenced its first overseas operation since converting to Neptunes when five aircraft departed for the U.S. Navy Base at Sangley Point in the Philippines on 24 August 1963. During May 1964, two Neptunes exercised with the USS Sculpin (SSN-590), the first time they had exercised with a nuclear submarine.

The first P2V-7 (by now known as the SP-2H) requiring a major service was A89-274 which departed for an "E" service in Richmond on 22 May 1964. Much of the radio, electrical and instrument equipment not required for flight was removed prior to departure for servicing by the Squadron in Townsville. When A89-274 returned to Townsville on 2 October 1964, it was the first aircraft to be painted in the new light grey colour scheme. For more information see Neptune Colours.

With the Great Barrier Reef on its doorstep, it is not surprising that the Squadron was frequently called out on search and rescue (SAR) sorties for all manner of vessels ranging from "tinnies" to tankers. These days such missions are usually flown by civilian contractors but while in service, the Neptunes often flew SAR sorties all along the Queensland coast. In addition to regular exercises with naval vessels, the Squadron also deployed overseas to locations such as the Philippines, Hawaii and New Zealand.

One notable mission was "Operation Trimdon" during June 1965 when No. 10 Squadron was tasked with shadowing the fast troop transport HMAS Sydney on its voyage to Vung Tau conveying 1 RAR to the Vietnam conflict. The Squadron flew eleven sorties during this operation.

During the period 5 July to 2 August 1967, four Neptunes deployed to the U.S. Navy base at Sangley Point in the Philippines for SEATO exercise "Sea Dog". During the deployment, the Squadron also operated from U-Tapao in Thailand, the first time that the Squadron had operated Neptunes from a Thai base. Around this time, USAF B-52s were operating bombing missions out of U-Tapao. This may be the source of the popular belief that No. 10 Squadron Neptunes had briefly used their limited AEW capabilities to protect the B-52s from surface-to-air missile attack although such an involvement does not feature in the Vietnam Nominal Roll. A more likely explanation for the Neptunes' presence at U-Tapao was that exercise "Sea Dog", although co-sponsored by the USA and Australia, was hosted by Thailand and, according to US Navy (CINCPAC) records, the "post-exercise assembly and critique were completed in Bangkok." Casting further doubt on the alleged Vietnam involvement, the Squadron's Operations Record Book states that an exercise held in Darwin in November 1967 was the Squadron's "first AEW role in an Air Defence Exercise".

Other interesting tasks performed by the Neptunes included the surveillance of a Russian Zulu Class submarine off the Queensland coast and shadowing a Russian "trawler" in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

With their base located in a cyclone area, it was common for all serviceable Neptunes to be flown south to Amberley in advance of forecast cyclones.

By the end of December 1976, the Squadron's Neptune establishment was down to 6 aircraft with another 3 in Class 9 storage. During the month, Squadron pilots had the melancholy duty of ferrying five Neptunes to Laverton to be converted to parts knowing that ultimately they would be broken up.

One of the last Neptune sorties was on 29 December 1976 when A89-275 was airborne at 0332 hours to locate and identify three foreign fishing vessels reported in the eastern Gulf of Carpentaria south of Weipa by an Ansett flight the previous afternoon. The vessels were located near Crab Island and identified as Taiwanese fishing boats.

The very last flight by a Neptune operated by the RAAF was on 6 December 1977 when A89-281 was flown to Amberley for disposal and literally parked on the grass in the middle of the airfield.

 

 

P2V-7 DELIVERIES

MSN RAAF BU NO DEL RAAF
726-7270 A89-270 149070 29MAR62
726-7271 A89-271 149071 10MAR62
726-7272 A89-272 149072 10MAR62
726-7273 A89-273 149073 10MAR62
726-7274 A89-274 149074 29MAR62
726-7275 A89-275 149075 29MAR62
726-7276 A89-276 149076 19APR62
726-7277 A89-277 149077 28APR62
726-7278 A89-278 149078 19APR62
726-7279 A89-279 149079 24MAY62
726-7280 A89-280 149080 25MAY62
726-7281 A89-281 149081 24MAY62


Notes P2V-7

1
All P2V-7 were classified by the RAAF as Mark 4 from the time of delivery.
2
All P2V-7 were redesignated SP-2H under the U.S. Tri-Service Designation Changes which came into effect on 18 September 1962. This policy was also adopted by the RAAF.

 

P2V-7/SP-2H RETIREMENT

 

SERIAL
LAST
FLIGHT
LAST
MENTION
RETIREMENT
A89-270
10DEC76
Ferried to Laverton for conversion to parts.
A89-271
07DEC76
Ferried to Laverton for conversion to parts.
A89-272
unknown
23OCT75
Flew in an exercise at Darwin. Return date not recorded. Sold at TSV.
A89-273
unknown
21NOV76
Returned to TSV from Cocos Island. Sold to civil.
A89-274
06DEC76
Ferried to Laverton for conversion to parts.
A89-275
14OCT77
Ferried to Point Cook for the RAAF Museum.
A89-276
unknown
18JUL75
Returned to TSV from an exercise at Richmond. Sold at TSV.
A89-277
unknown
05JUL75
Returned to TSV after engine change at Richmond. Sold at TSV.
A89-278
unknown
19DEC76
Returned to TSV after engine change at Darwin. Disposed at Laverton.
A89-279
unknown
21NOV76
Returned to TSV from Cocos Island. Disposed at Laverton.
A89-280
unknown
27OCT76
Returned to TSV after engine change at Rockhampton. Display at TSV.
A89-281
06DEC77
Ferried to Amberley for disposal.

 

NOTES
1
Dates shown in the "Last Flight" column are known last flight dates. Dates shown in the "Last Mention" column represent the final reference to the aircraft in the 10 Sqn ORB. They are probably also the last flights but this is not confirmed.
2
TSV = Townsville. (ORB often uses TVL)

 

P2V-7 Mods

 

The following table lists modifications to the P2V-7 fleet, where such mods are included on the record cards. If a mod is not listed in this table it does not mean that the mod was not incorporated. Mod 246 was the fitment of SARAH (Search And Rescue And Homing). The nature of Mods 298, 301, 309, 310 and 321 is unknown. The modifications in the following table were performed at No 2 Aircraft Depot (2AD) at RAAF Richmond.

Although not a modification, it is interesting to note that between 20 and 28 January 1969, many, if not all of No. 10 Squadron's Neptunes flew to 2AD at Richmond to be weighed! The ORB records dates for seven aircraft but it is likely that the other five were weighed as well. This process generally lasted one or two days. Although it is routine for aircraft to be weighed periodically, it is not known why seemingly the entire fleet was weighed within such a short period. Aircraft for which dates are recorded are A89-270, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279 and 281.

On delivery, the P2V-7s were fitted with under-wing bomb racks located between the jet pod and the roundel. On 23 January 1968, A89-271 flew four sorties at Townsville with an ARDU Canberra to test the release of practice bombs from the bomb bay of the Neptune. Again, between 21-24 July 1969, trials were flown under the direction of ARDU to test the ability of the SP-2H to drop 8.5 pound practice bombs from the bomb bay to fully simulate sequenced depth charge attacks. On 3 August 1970, an intensive programme of low level bombing practice was flown. The Operations Record Book of No. 10 Squadron states that; "The 8.5 pound practice bombs were carried in the bomb bay for the first time by the Squadron". It is believed that this marks the point where the wing bomb racks were removed from the Neptunes. The last available photo of a Neptune with wing bomb racks is dated April 1970.

 

A89-
MOD 246
SARAH
MOD 321
REMARKS & ADDITIONAL MODS
270
-
25JUN68
04AUG68
-
271
-
-
To 2AD 24AUG67 for Mods 298 & 309.
272
-
12JAN68
29FEB68
Prototype for Mod 321.
273
08MAY62
20MAY62
29JUL68
03SEP68
-
274
03MAY62
11MAY62
08NOV68
18DEC68
"Temporary" fitment of SARAH.
275
-
02SEP68
26SEP68
Unknown Mod at 2AD on 07JUN62. Aircraft returned to 10 Sqn same day.
276
-
-
Mod 298 & 309 at 2AD 14AUG67 to 13OCT67.
277
-
03JUN68
02JUL68
-
278
08MAY62
24MAY62
26FEB68
09APR68
Also Mods 310, 309, 301 & 298 performed in conjunction with Mod 321.
279
08JUN62
26JUN62
22APR68
23MAY68
-
280
-
14OCT68
20NOV68
-
281
-
-
-

 

 

THE P2V-7 FIRE EXTINGUISHER MOD 242

A89-
EX 10 SQN
EX AVALON
REMARKS
277
01NOV63
31JAN64
First modified.
276
02MAR64
03APR64
Note 2
280
20MAY64
30JUN64
 
272
31MAR64
22MAY64
 
271
20APR64
09JUN64
Note 3
275
22JUN64
29JUL64
 
273
27JUL64
19AUG64
 
281
17AUG64
08SEP64
 
278
07SEP64
30SEP64
 
270
28SEP64
21OCT64
 
274
19OCT64
11NOV64
 
279
09NOV64
03DEC64
Last modified.

 

NOTES
1
The No. 10 Sqn ORB states that A89-277 was modified by GAF at Avalon. For all other aircraft, the ORB states CAC or just Avalon.
2
All dates are sourced from the No. 10 Sqn ORB with the exception of the return date for A89-276 which is sourced from the Aircraft Record Card.
3
"GAF is carrying out a strengthening mod on the CSD formers at the same time." (No. 10 Sqn ORB). Presumably this also applies to the other eleven aircraft.

 

 

 

 

SOURCES
1
NAA A9186, 31. RAAF Unit History sheets (Form A50) [Operations Record Book - Forms A50 and A51] Number 11 Squadron Nov 50 - Jun 67.
2
NAA: A9186, 28. RAAF Unit History sheets (Form A50) [Operations Record Book - Forms A50 and A51] Number 10 Squadron Jan 62 - Dec 76
3
Aircraft Record Cards (aka Status Cards) Form E/E.88

 

 

NEPTUNE
INSTRUCTIONAL AIRFRAMES
INST1
A89-301
INST2
A89-302
INST3
A89-310
INST4
A89-303
INST5
A89-275

 

See also Neptune Colours


Issue Date Remarks
20 20JUL17
Added further information on the SARAH system and its relationship to the wartime Rebecca system.
19 28NOV15
Amended the description of the SARAH system. Thanks to Nick Sayer.
18 23NOV15
Added a new section on the entry into service of the P2V-7.
17 20NOV15
Added a new section on the entry into service of the P2V-5.
16 19NOV15
Added a reference to wing bomb racks.
15 18NOV15
Added a reference to P2V-7s being weighed in JAN69.
14 14NOV15
The section on P2V-7 Modifications has been completely rewritten.
13 12NOV15
The section on P2V-5 Modifications has been completely rewritten.
12 06NOV15
The P2V-5 table has been revised to standardise delivery dates.
11 05NOV15
Notes on Neptune colours have been transferred to a standalone page.
The Jet Pod Mod table has been updated.
10 02NOV15
Added the RAAF spec for the shade of light grey.
9 15OCT15
Restructured the section on P2V-7 Mods and created a separate table for the Fire Extinguisher Mod.
8 06OCT15
Added a section on Neptune colour schemes. See Issue 11.
7 05OCT15
Corrected the P2V-7 details above to show that these aircraft were delivered in a dark grey and white colour scheme and not Sea Blue as stated in most references.
6 01AUG05
Added an explanation of the acronym SARAH thanks to Clive Lynch.
5 10DEC02
All Australian Neptunes now have individual pages. Consequently, the content of some of the above tables has been reduced although several new tables have been added. The RAAF serials in the above tables are linked to the relevant page for each aircraft.


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