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Watch How Lockheed Martin Breathes New Life Into P-3s From The Boneyard

P-3s Might Be On Their Way Out But They Haven’t Left The Building Just Yet

P-3C of VP-16 flies over NAS Bermuda. Official US Navy Photograph

The Lockheed Martin video “P-3 Orion Desert to Delivery” describes the transportation and refurbishment process used to pull P-3 Orion aircraft from the storage areas at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Recovery Group (otherwise known as the boneyard) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB) for wing replacement and refurbishment so they can be returned to service. P-3s might be well on their way to being replaced by the Boeing P-8A Poseidon, but they are certainly not done yet. Thanks to LockheedMartinVideos for uploading this look at the effort to keep veteran but still viable aircraft going strong.

The aircraft featured in the video (Bureau Number 158920) was delivered to the United States Navy on July 11th 1973. It was eventually reworked to P-3C Update III Mod specifications. The aircraft spent time with Patrol Squadron FOUR NINE (VP-49) Woodpeckers and VP-16 War Eagles before being stricken from the US Navy’s list on 11/2/2004.

P-3C of VP-49 flying over Iceland. Official US Navy Photograph

The aircraft then served with the Taiwanese Air Force 33rd Squadron. After the airframe was returned to the United States it was stored at AMARG as AN2P0215. After its refurbishment at the Lockheed Martin facility the aircraft entered service with the United States Customs and Border Protection Service’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO) group as a Long Range Tracker (LRT) aircraft, most of whose P-3s have been re-winged.

Official Customs and Border Protection Photograph


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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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