L-285D ORION AP-3C


RAAF MSN BU NO DEL RAAF TYPE PRE DEL
A9-751 5657 160751 17FEB78 AP-3C LO-180
-
17FEB78
Flown from Lockheed, Burbank to Moffett Field for crew training. (Source: Office of Air Force History)
26MAY78
Arrived at RAAF Edinburgh. The first P-3C to be delivered to the RAAF. (Source: Office of Air Force History)
16JUN14
Returned to Edinburgh after repainting by Air New Zealand in Christchurch, NZ. A9-751 was the last of 13 RAAF Orions to be repainted under a contract which began on 17MAY12. (Source: Air Force News 31JUL14)
04OCT14
Flew in a four aircraft formation to commemorate the 75th anniversary of No 10 Sqn and No 11 Sqn.
16NOV17
Flown from Edinburgh to Point Cook on delivery to the RAAF Museum.



A9-752 5658 160752 28MAR78 AP-3C LO-180
-
29JUN78
Arrived Edinburgh
A9-753 5660 160753 22MAY78 AP-3C LO-180
-
04OCT14
Flew in a four aircraft formation to commemorate the 75th anniversary of No 10 Sqn and No 11 Sqn.
12DEC16
Arrived at Albion Park, NSW for storage pending disposal.
18OCT17
HARS announced that A9-753 would be officially handed over to HARS on 03NOV17.
03NOV17
A9-753 was officially handed over to HARS by the Chief of Air Force in a ceremony at Albion Park.
HARS have been approved to continue operating the aircraft and it is expected to be registered VH-ORI.
A9-754 5662 160754 27MAY78 P-3C LO-180
-
26APR91
Ditched off Cocos Islands.
-
Although some components were salvaged, most of the aircraft was dumped at sea.
The nose section was still present at Cocos in 1992 (see Photo #4) and it is reported that one of the propellors is displayed in a Cocos Islands museum. Refer Report from Cocos. The Cocos (Keeling) Islands Historical Society have erected a memorial to Flying Officer Thomas Henniker, the crew member who died in the crash of A9-754
An Orion fin/rudder is displayed outside the 92 Wing HQ at RAAF Edinburgh. Despite earlier speculation that it had come from the parted-out P-3B 152760, it has now been established that it came from P-3C A9-754.
A9-755 5664 160755 07AUG78 AP-3C LO-180
-
18AUG78
Arrived Edinburgh
04OCT14
Noted at Edinburgh being prepared for scrapping.
A9-756 5666 160756 01SEP78 AP-3C LO-180
-
04OCT14
Noted at Edinburgh.
OCT15
Withdrawn from service at Edinburgh.
10DEC17
The fuselage and the left wing were delivered by road to the South Australian Aviation Museum on this date. Other components were delivered earlier on 23NOV17. The aircraft will be displayed with only the left wing fitted. The right wing was not received by SAAM at their request.
A9-757 5668 160757 03OCT78 AP-3C LO-180
-
07NOV78
Arrived Edinburgh
04OCT14
Noted at Edinburgh.
A9-758 5672 160758 27NOV78 AP-3C LO-185
-
04OCT14
Noted at Edinburgh being prepared for scrapping.
27OCT14
Remains transported to a local scrapyard.
A9-759 5674 160759 21DEC78 AP-3C LO-185
-
-
First production AP-3C converted by Boeing at Avalon, VIC.
04OCT14
Noted at Edinburgh.

A9-759

A9-760 5676 160760 16JAN79 AP-3C LO-185
-
16JAN79
Arrived Edinburgh
-
First AP-3C conversion by Raytheon E-Systems, Greenville, Texas.
JUL02
The first AP-3C to enter RAAF service.
A9-656 5778 162656 09OCT84 AP-3C LO-220 N64854
07DEC84
Arrived Edinburgh
A9-657 5780 162657 27FEB85 AP-3C LO-220 N64911
-
Believed to be a dedicated ELINT aircraft. (Source: www.adfserials.com.au)
A9-658 5782 162658 12JUL85 AP-3C LO-220 N4009K
AUG85
Arrived Edinburgh
AUG16
Allocated to South Australian Aviation Museum for delivery DEC18. Subsequently the allocation was amended to A9-756.
A9-659 5784 162659 24JUL85 AP-3C LO-220 N64996
AUG85
Arrived Edinburgh
A9-660 5785 162660 07SEP85 AP-3C LO-225 N64854
SEP85
Arrived Edinburgh
-
Believed to be a dedicated ELINT aircraft. (Source: www.adfserials.com.au)
A9-661 5787 162661 17OCT85 P-3C LO-225 N64911
OCT85
Arrived Edinburgh
-
It has been reported that this aircraft is the only P-3C (apart from the written-off A9-754) not converted to AP-3C status and that it is retained for trials purposes and is not subject to normal tasking. However, recent photos of A9-661 cast doubt on this. With the scrapping of A9-663 it was claimed that 663 was the only Orion not upgraded to AP-3C.
04OCT14
Flew in a four aircraft formation to commemorate the 75th anniversary of No 10 Sqn and No 11 Sqn.
A9-662 5789 162662 20NOV85 AP-3C LO-225 N64996
NOV85
Arrived Edinburgh
A9-663 5791 162663 20DEC85 AP-3C LO-225 N4009K
FEB86
Arrived Edinburgh
04OCT14
Noted at Edinburgh being prepared for scrapping.
20OCT14
Airframe broken up at Edinburgh.
17OCT14
Remains transported to a local scrap yard.
-
It was stated that A9-663 was the only Orion not upgraded to AP-3C configuration. This may explain the confusion with A9-661 (which see).
A9-664 5793 162664 30APR86 AP-3C LO-225 N64854
04OCT14
Flew in a four aircraft formation to commemorate the 75th anniversary of No 10 Sqn and No 11 Sqn.
A9-665 5795 162665 28MAY86 AP-3C LO-225 N4009H
15NOV86
Commissioned at Edinburgh

 

AP-3C ORION STATUS
SERIAL
IN SVC
WFS
AVAILABLE TO AHOs
REMARKS
A9-656
-
JUL19
A9-657
-
-
A9-658
-
DEC16
Note 1
A9-659
-
-
Note 1
A9-660
-
-
A9-661
-
JUL19
A9-662
-
JUL19
Note 1
A9-663
-
Scrapped
A9-664
-
JUL19
A9-665
-
JUL19
A9-751
-
-
Delivered to the RAAF Museum 16NOV17.
A9-752
-
DEC18
Note 1
A9-753
-
DEC16
Handed over to HARS on 03NOV17.
A9-754
-
Crashed 26APR91
A9-755
-
Scrapped
A9-756
-
-
Delivered to SAAM on 10DEC17. Note 1
A9-757
-
MAY17
A9-758
-
Scrapped
A9-759
-
JUN18
A9-760
-
JUN18

 

NOTES ON ORION STATUS
Confirmed in service
Confirmed withdrawn from service
Status unknown. All except 657 and 660 were changed to on 17MAR16 based on dates shown in the "Available to AHOs" column.
Note 1
Participated in the MH370 aerial search which concluded on 29APR14. (Source: www.aviationwa.org.au).
AVAILABLE TO AHOs
The Australian Government announced on 11 March 2016 that up to eleven AP-3C Orions would be made available to Australian Heritage Organisations (AHO) with a projected delivery timeframe of September 2016 to July 2019. It is reported that A9-751 has been allocated to the RAAF Museum so this leaves 4 aircraft unaccounted for. Presumably all or some of these aircraft will be allocated to RAAF Museums and Bases. Subsequently, an additional aircraft, A9-756, was allocated to SAAM in lieu of the previously allocated A9-658.

 


NOTES P-3C

1
The P-3C MSNs have been confirmed by RAAF sources.
RAAF document AAP 7215.001-2-1 dated 1983 confirms the MSN, BU NO and Block Numbers assigned to A9-751 to A9-760 (incl) in the above table.
2
All surviving P-3C are currently assigned to 92 Wing, RAAF Edinburgh, SA.
3
A9-656 to A9-665 were also known in RAAF service as the P-3W to differentitate between aircraft built in 1978/9 (A9-751 to A9-760) and those built in 1984/5 (A9-656 to A9-665). Lockheed referred to these aircraft as "original delivery" and "follow-on" respectively.
4
All surviving P-3C, with the exception of A9-661*, underwent a modernisation programme after which they were redesignated as AP-3C [A=Australia].
* When A9-663 was scrapped in October 2014 it was stated by Defence that 663 was the only Orion not converted to AP-3C status.
5
It was announced on 15MAR05 (ADF Press Release 043/2005) that "The full fleet of 18 upgraded AP-3C Orions have been successfully delivered." Australian National Audit Office Report No. 10 (2005-2006) states that "One of the 19 aircraft is used for development purposes and was not included in the Upgrade Project." This same report also states that the first AP-3C was accepted into service in July 2002 and the final (18th) aircraft was accepted in December 2004. It subsequently emerged that the unconverted development aircraft is A9-661.
6
There have been reports that one or two AP-3Cs have an ELINT capability. A report in Flight International of 04OCT05 refers to "18 maritime surveillance and one electronic intelligence-gathering aircraft". It is now believed that two aircraft were converted and that these are A9-657 and A9-660. It is probably no coincidence that all of the Orions now carry miniscule serial numbers adjacent to the rear crew door. The "last three" of the serial appears in larger digits inside the NLG doors.
7
A U.S. Navy structural repair manual dated 29 August 1977 states that the first 10 P-3C for the RAAF were to have been given the serials A9-001 to A9-010. This numbering system was evidently abandoned as the aircraft were delivered bearing serials derived from the last three digits of the Bu No. MSNs and Bu Nos listed in this manual correspond with the above table in respect of the first seven aircraft A9-751 to A9-757 but the subsequent three aircraft, A9-758 to A9-760, differ. Given that these three aircraft were delivered more than one year after the publication of the manual, there had evidently been changes on the production line.
8
Air Force News of 31JUL14 reported that A9-751 returned to Australia on 16JUN14 after being repainted by Air New Zealand in Christchurch under a contract let to Boeing Defence Australia on 17MAY12. All 13 Orions were repainted with A9-751 being the last. (From this it can be inferred that 6 Orions had been withdrawn from service prior to the repaint). It was reported that the Orions would not need to be painted again before their replacement by the Boeing P-8 Poseidon.
9
The Australian Government announced on 11 March 2016 that up to eleven AP-3C Orions would be made available to Australian Heritage Organisations with a projected delivery timeframe of September 2016 to July 2019.

 

* A Note on P-3C Block Numbers

Block Numbers were generally issued only to aircraft built specifically for the United States Navy. However, it is common for aircraft of foreign customers to assume the Block Number of USN aircraft which were on the assembly line at the same time. Lockheed and the USN discontinued the use of Block Numbers after 200 because they were not sufficiently specific to represent configuration accurately enough for maintenance, so the USN went to more precise configuration listings of specific aircraft and mods. Nevertheless, Block Numbers higher than 200 were used by several customers, including the RAAF, and indeed there is photographic proof of their use on USN aircraft. It is believed that these Block Numbers were contrived locally for continuity purposes.



Camera icon is linked to a photo.



Issue Date Remarks
25 08JAN18
Added 9 images of A9-756 thanks to Nigel Daw and Mike Milln.
24 27DEC17
The planned registration for A9-753 is VH-ORI.
23 16DEC17
Added 6 images of A9-751 thanks to Nigel Daw.
22 11DEC17
A9-756 was delivered by road to SAAM on 10DEC17.
21 10DEC17
A9-751 was delivered to the RAAF Museum on 16NOV17.
20 07DEC17
A9-756 is due to be delivered by road to SAAM on 10DEC17.
19 03NOV17
A9-753 was officially handed over to HARS on this date.
18 19OCT17
A9-753 will be officially handed over to HARS on 03NOV17.
17 17FEB17
A9-756 has been allocated to SAAM in lieu of A9-658 for delivery in AUG17.
A9-753 has been stored at Albion Park pending disposal.
16 24AUG16
A9-658 has been allocated to SAAM for delivery DEC18.
15 17MAR16
Updated Status Table with news that 11 aircraft are to be made available to AHOs.
14 31OCT15
A9-756 is reported as having been withdrawn from service.
13 10SEP15
Added a series of images of A9-754 being salvaged at Cocos Islands. Thanks to Leigh Byrnes.
Added an image of A9-759.
12 09SEP15
Added an image of A9-754 thanks to Richard Vandervord.
Added an image of A9-664 thanks to Phil Vabre.
Added an image of A9-753 thanks to Phil Vabre.
11 07SEP15
Completely reformatted table. Nil change to data.
10 08DEC14
Updated details of scrapping of A9-663 and A9-758 thanks to ADF Serials.
9 08NOV14
A9-663 was broken up at Edinburgh on 20OCT14.
8 04OCT14
Added an update on AP-3C status at Edinburgh on this date. Thanks to Nigel Daw of WBAG. Also added a table showing Orion service status.
7 30AUG13
The previous update stating that A9-755 was withdrawn from service in AUG12 is obviously incorrect as this aircraft appeared at the Avalon Air Show in FEB13.
6 16AUG12
It is reported that A9-755 has been withdrawn from service, the first AP-3C to be retired. See Update 7.
5 18JUN08
Added a link to a website describing the memorial to Flying Officer Thomas Henniker who died in the crash of A9-754.
4 06JUN08
It is understood that the unconverted development aircraft is A9-661. The matter of ELINT capabilities has been further clarified.
3 07JAN06
Attempted to further clarify the complicated matter of Block Numbers.
2 10NOV05
Refer to Note 7 above. The document referred to was supplied by Marco Borst of the Orion Research Group. Thanks Marco.
1 11OCT05
Previously, all Orions were presented on the one page. Effective from this date, there are separate pages for each type, P-3B, TAP-3B and P-3C. If required, the previous summary of updates can be viewed here.



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