The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has ended operations with the Lockheed Martin AP-3C Orion, with its final two examples having left use in early December.


Source: Commonwealth of Australia

The RAAF’s last operational AP-3Cs included A9-657

Operated by 10 Sqn from RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, the pair had been employed in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and electronic warfare (EW) roles.

Cirium fleets data shows that the retired aircraft – A9-657 and A9-660 – entered use in 1985 configured for maritime patrol duties, before later being modified to the EW standard.

The RAAF’s maritime patrol-tasked AP-3Cs were replaced in service by Boeing 737NG-based P-8A Poseidons, with remotely piloted Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Tritons also being acquired.

Australia launched operations with the four-engined Orion in 1968, originally fielding P-3Bs, followed by C-model aircraft from 1978. The enhanced AP-3C standard entered use in 2002.

RAAF AP-3C pair

Source: Commonwealth of Australia

EW-adapted AP-3Cs were employed by 10 Sqn from RAAF Base Edinburgh

Cirium data shows that the global military fleet of P-3s has been reduced to just over 140 examples, with these used by 12 nations; as detailed in our 2024 World Air Forces directory. It also lists another 21 as flown by operators including NASA and US Customs and Border Protection.