Re: What could replace the P-3?

Date:         26 Apr 98 03:44:42 
From:         westin* (Stephen H. Westin)
Organization: Program of Computer Graphics -- Cornell University
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"Neil Gerace" <> writes:

> First thanks to all those in rec.aviation.military who helped me make a
> list of civil-military 'equivalents'.
> 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.

I'm not sure that makes sense. Think of the basic design goal of an
airliner: get lots of people to a destination as fast and as
economically as possible. Then, the design goals of an ASW plane: hang
around as long as possible, looking for things that come your
way. Possibly make low, slow passes over a specified area, perhaps
dragging or dropping instrumentation.

I don't think those goals are very similar, and airliners have
developed away from anything that really fits the P-3's mission. The
U.S. still relies on P-3's (I saw several parked at Norfolk last
week), and they were actually in production until April of 1990.


> 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
> right?

As I recall, P-3's actually switch off two engines, feathering the
props, during long missions. This saves fuel, but doesn't sound
practical for a jet.

The turboprop engines are ideal for the P-3's mission; staying in the
air a long time, but not really going everywhere. Not only are they
efficient in terms of specific thrust, but they work well at
(relatively) low speeds. Its 14-hour maximum time in the air was
beyond the reach of jet-powered aircraft for many years.


So what aircraft could take the place of a P-3? The C-130, itself not
a new design, is the only current 4-engine turboprop that comes to
mind. Lockheed had proposed a P-7, but this was canceled in '89,

-Stephen H. Westin
Any information or opinions in this message are mine: they do not
represent the position of Cornell University or any of its sponsors.