C’est Fini…

The last US Navy ASW P-3 is gone…

First introduced in 1962, they participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis…

And Vietnam, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, GWOT, and many other operations over the next 60 years…

The last active duty P-3 squadron transitioned in 2020, leaving two reserve squadrons as the only P-3 ASW component in the US Navy.

That ended last month, on June 10th, when the last reserve P-3 left Jacksonville for the boneyard…

Yes, there are still P-3s flying in other mission profiles, and with other countries, but 60 years of service isn’t bad!

Yep, we’re officially old… dinosaurs… I flew in them for 20 years, and yes, I’d do it all over again if that option was given to me.

Kudos to Lockheed for giving us a great airplane, and the thousands of folks that labored year after year to maintain them around the world. And to those who flew in them over all those years, they brought us home time and time again. Doesn’t get much better than that.


C’est Fini… — 20 Comments

  1. Thank you for your service to our country. With 60 years of service and likely parts available, I’m surprised some commercial ventures aren’t buying for their business.

  2. They were regular visitors at the Burlington VT Air Guard Base. Used to see them making training passes over Lake Champlain. Even found a smoke float out in the lake.

  3. My first tour was in VQ-2, Rota Spain. I spent a year and a half in the A-3 shop and then switched over to the P-3 side.

    Wasn’t an ASW P-3, but it was a P-3 and although my first love will always be the mighty Skywarrior, I remember the P-3’s fondly (it helps that Orion has always been my favorite constellation), even if they did have their engines installed upside down.

  4. Sorry to hear this. I had 5500 hours in the Orion with only about two hours of terror halfway between Kadena and Guam on a Hurrevac as a brand new 1st tour Nav. (number three engine that kept burning after both fire bottles were used.) The P-3 can never be accused of giving the crew a comfortable ride, but it always got us out to where we were going and back safely.

    P-3 Aviators do it for a long time.

  5. jrg- NOAA, and fire bombers use them!

    Ed- Those must have been the folks out of Wing 5 in Brunswick!

    Curt- LOL, yeah, yeah. Actually according to Lockheed, the 130 motors are upside down… 😉

    Hawaiian- Oh yeah, no question they scared the hell out of us a few times!

    Guy- For versions of fun- Flying into hurricanes is NOT on my fun list. Did it once, that was enough!

    • That’s a story I want to hear! I used to think that sounded like the coolest job.

    • (I did put “fun” in quotes…)
      On YouTube you can now find amateur WX chasers flying camera drones alongside (and sometimes *into*) tornado vortices. Hundreds or thousands of dollars but no lives and limbs at stake. Some of them are collecting useful and interesting atmospheric data too; I love it when people have a scientific or technical hobby which they take seriously.

  6. spent 18 months out on adak ak working in the tactical support center briefing and debriefing the P-3 crews. they were kind enough to fly us into ankorage on R+R flights a few times. good times…..

  7. got to be a bit of an emotional moment for you and the other P-3 aviators. Thanks to everyone in that group for all that you did and still do. The planes and crew can take pride in your long service to this great land.

  8. First the P-2s went away, now the P-3. Does nothing last?

  9. Now we can replace it with something that costs three times as much and does the job at least half as well. Gotta keep that grift flowing!

  10. Xtron- You and I probably crossed paths… LOL

    Tom- Yep!

    Flugel- Of course not…

    Stuart- Sigh…yeah. But when increment 3 finally hits, it will be as capable as the last P-3!

  11. I enjoyed my 25yrs flying in the safest A/C in the Navy’s inventory too! I miss it too and would do it all over in a heartbeat!

  12. Hey Old NFO;

    The P-3 served long and proud with a history that is hard to match. I think only the B52 is more distinguished than the P3.The Others have come and gone since the arrival of the P3’s in the early 1960’s

  13. I was watching them come and go under the landing pattern for Lockheed HQ in Burbank from grade school years, every day.

    Would have loved to fly them. Another magnificent piece of aviation history moves into “Before…” as the pages of time keep turning.