Re: What could replace the P-3?

Date:         26 Apr 98 03:44:36 
From:         Matt Clonfero <>
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Neil Gerace <> wrote:

>Now, consider a hypothetical situation where the RAAF had the money to
>replace its venerable P-3C Orion ASW planes with some new model. Say it
>wanted to convert an exisiting but up-to-date airliner to fill the role.

First question - why? Why is the RAAF going to fund it's own conversion?
Does it have a supply of low flight hour airframes and a supply chain
for them?

Why not have the P-3Cs reworked - as proposed for the RAF's FLRMPA. Or,
get new build P-3Cs - a possibility also studied for FLRMPA.

>Now my question is, which one? In my 'International Dictionary of Civil
>Aircraft' which purports to list every type of civil plane still in
>service -- the Lockheed Electra which the P-3 came from is still in
>there -- there doesn't seem to be a 4-engined airliner around any more
>that's about the P-3's size.

The RAF agrees that four engines is a good thing for a LRMPA, so we can
discount the twin engine efforts. However, the current school of thought
in civil air seems to be that twins are good enough for long duration
over water flights, so the numbers of new four engine airlines seems set
to diminish.

>All planes in the P-3's weight class (~ 65 tonnes) are twins, and the
>Avro RJ115, the only new quad in the book smaller than the A340, is way
>too small.

And we don't like Airbus.

>I'm assuming such a plane would need four engines for safety during long
>patrols at sea, not merely because the P-3 has four engines. Is this

Well, plenty of air forces fly the Atlantique, which is a twin - but
four engines makes for a warm fuzzy feeling.

>Here's a wild idea: how about a four engined 737-600? Who makes
>turbofans in the 10-12,000lb class needed to replace half of a CFM56?

Ack. You've just made the airframe uniquely expensive (by modifying it
on such a gross scale) without even adding the mission gear. Either
build new airframes to a proven design; or add mission gear to an
existing airframe.

Aetherem Vincere
Matt Clonfero:  | To Err is Human
My employers and I have a deal - They don't | To forgive is not Air Force Policy
speak for me, and I don't speak for them.   |   -- Anon, ETPS