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RAAF 11 SQD (A9-300) P-3b Model


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Australian P-3b (300) RAAF 11 SQD Model

“Shepherd Or Destroy” with No.11 Squadron of the RAAF 294 in this P-3b. Each 18 inch model is carefully carved and hand painted to provide a unique treasure that you’ll proudly be able to display.

“A9-291 was the first P3B delivered to the RAAF on 10 January 1968. Of interest she is still flying – transferred to New Zealand now a P3-K NZ4206 with 5SQN RNZAF. I think I have given you the reason she is of personal significance to me – By chance a nice family shot taken beside her, then in 1978 the major bird strike ( pelicans) then in 1979 our crew won the Fincastle ASW completion between British Commonwealth air forces at Greenwood NS.” (Bill Kirkwood)

No. 11 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) maritime patrol squadron based at RAAF Base Edinburgh. It was formed in 1939 and has seen active service in World War II, East Timor, the War on Terrorism and the 2003 Gulf War. The squadron became known to the public through its participation in the Great Southern Ocean rescues of wrecked sailors, such as Tony Bullimore and Isabelle Autissier. Wiki

The prototype Orion, designated YP3V-1, serialled 148276, flew on 25 November 1959. The US Navy ordered 157 of this model, which became the P-3A. New Zealand became the first export customer with an order for the upgraded P-3B version, featuring little external difference but more powerful engines and advanced sensors and electronics.

In November 1964 the RAAF selected the Orion to replace the Neptunes of No 11 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond. These ten aircraft, A9-291 to A9-300 , were P-3B-95-LO and -100-LO variants. The first was handed over on 10 January 1969. Unfortunately, on 11 April, A9-296 was written off when a defective undercarriage collapsed at the Moffet Field US Naval Air Station in California. This aircraft was replaced by 154605, a US Navy P-3B-105-LO, which became A9-605 in 1969.

The new base at Edinburgh allowed No 11 Squadron’s Orions to rapidly deploy to any part of the Australian coastline on maritime patrol duties. The high-performance Allison T56-A-14 engines gave both a fast transit speed and a long range. As well as anti-submarine warfare and search and rescue , coastal surveillance assumed an increasingly important role.

Meanwhile, the No 10 Squadron SP-2H Neptunes at Townsville were now showing their age, so eight of the latest version of the Orion, the P-3C, were ordered in March 1975. The decision was then made to base all the Orions at RAAF Base Edinburgh, and in September 1976, the P-3C order was increased to ten aircraft. These aircraft, A9-751 to A9-760, were the P-3C-180-LO variant, known as P-3C Update 2. A9-751 flew into Moffet Field on delivery from Lockheed’s Burbank plant on 17 February 1978 for crew training and then arrived at Edinburgh on 26 May. The final aircraft, A9-760 was delivered on 16 January 1979.

The P-3C again differed little externally from the P-3B, but offered a quantum leap forward in electronics and processing capability, which allowed a reduction in crew from 12 to 10. The P-3C also introduced to service the Australian Barra passive sonobuoy system, and for search and surveillance missions was equipped with an infra-red detection system. Another improvement was the capability to launch the Harpoon air-to-surface missile up to 100km from its target. Over its years in service, the P-3C Orion has seen great advances in technology, so various avionics improvement programs have been implemented. These modifications have resulted since January 1975 in the ‘Upgrade’ designations:
•Upgrade I – increased computer memory, more sensitive acoustic processing equipment, upgraded navigation equipment.
•Upgrade II – introduction of the infra-red detector set and provision to carry the AGM-84 Harpoon long-range anti-ship missile (the standard missile of all current RAAF Orions)
•Upgrade III – improved IBM Proteus acoustic processing equipment, more sensitive acoustic sensors and better electronic support measures

The next major decision regarding the P-3 wing at Edinburgh was whether to upgrade the older P-3B model or replace them with more P-3Cs. Fortunately the latter course was chosen, and on 29 June 1982 a contract was signed for ten new P-3Cs. The remaining P-3Bs, A9-292 to A9-298, were sold to the Portuguese Air Force, and serve as the P-3P in Esquadra 601 at Montijo, Portugal.

Since February 1981 Nos 10 and 11 Squadrons, as part of No 92 Wing, have maintained continuous detachments at Air Base Butterworth, Malaysia, for maritime surveillance. Conversion of crews to the Orion has been conducted by No 292 Squadron at Edinburgh, and since the introduction of an all-P-3C force, any aircraft on the flightline can be flown by either No 10, 11 or 292 Squadron crews.

Significantly upgraded Australian Orions, designated AP-3C, were introduced into service in 2002 and are fitted with a variety of sensors, including digital multi-mode radar, electronic support measures, electro-opticical detection equipment (infra-red and visual), magnetic anomaly detector, identification friend or foe equipment and acoustic detectors.
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