Norway to Retire P-3 Orion Fleet After 54 Years

The Royal Norwegian Air Force will retire its P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft fleet, in service for more than five decades, on June 30.

According to the country’s defense ministry, a final flight ceremony will be held to mark its retirement at Andoya Air Station in northern Norway.

Personnel transition is underway, with some P-3 Orion crew members being relocated to nearby Evenes Air Station.

As the maritime patrol planes retire, the air force also plans to end Andoya’s status as an operational air station after 65 years.

Lockheed Martin’s P-3 Orion is a land-based, long-range aircraft equipped with four Allison T56-A-14 engines to stay aloft for long periods and support high-altitude reconnaissance missions.

It is used for submarine hunting, over-land peacekeeping, relaying real-time video surveillance, and supporting anti-terrorism operations.

Shift to Poseidon

Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft will take over the tasks of the Orions, particularly in guarding Norwegian waters.

Five P-8As will replace six P-3 Orions and two DA-20 Jet Falcons, with the first arriving in the country in February last year.

According to Boeing, the versatile platform can fly at an altitude of up to 41,000 feet (12.5 kilometers) and a maximum speed of 490 knots (908 kilometers/564 miles per hour).

Requiring a smaller crew, the warplane can deliver extended global reach, greater payload capacity, and improved combat capability.

Additionally, the Poseidon is designed to conduct accurate enemy detection, thanks to its active multi-static and passive acoustic sensor system, inverse synthetic aperture radar, and new electro-optical/infrared sensor.

Apart from anti-submarine and surveillance missions, the P-8As are expected to support anti-surface warfare, intelligence-gathering, and search and rescue operations.

P-8A Poseidon
P-8A Poseidon. Photo: Boeing

Orions Being Sent to Argentina

Norway has agreed to sell four of its retiring P-3 Orions to the government of Argentina to support the South American country’s patrolling operations in the South Atlantic.

The Scandinavian nation is reportedly transferring its second-hand Orions for $67 million.

Once decommissioned in June, the aircraft will first be sent to the US before being delivered to Buenos Aires.

Argentinian Cabinet Chief Agustín Rossi said that the acquisition would allow sustained surveillance of the country’s territories for the next 20 years.

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