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P-3K2 Orion

P-3K2 Orion

The Airborne Surveillance and Response Forces (ASRF) is provided by No 5 Squadron RNZAF. The Squadron is equipped with a total fleet of six Orion aircraft, progressively operating P-3K2 aircraft as P-3K aircraft undergo the mission systems upgrade.

The P-3K2 provides airborne surveillance of New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone, the Pacific region and the Southern Ocean, including Antarctica in support of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

They provide a range of services to Government agencies (including Ministry for Primary Industries (Fisheries), New Zealand Customs and Police) and the community including search and rescue missions, humanitarian relief and in support of natural disasters.

No 5 Squadron provides six crews, usually of 12 personnel comprised of pilots, flight engineers, air warfare officers and air warfare and other mission specialists to conduct its tasks.

Aircraft P-3K2 Orion
Manufacturer Lockheed (USA)
Powered plant Four Allison T56-A 14 engines, (4,600 shaft horsepower).
Length 36m (117ft)
Wingspan 30.4m (99ft)
Height 10.3m (34ft)
Basic weight 30,450kgs (67,000lbs)
Gross weight 54,950kgs (127,500lbs)
Max fuel 27300kgs (60,000lbs)
Cruising speed 630km/h (340kts)
Ferry range approx 7,100km (3,850NM)
Typical performance Radius of action of 1,850km (1,000NM) with 4 hours on station. Endurance of 15 hrs with two engines shut down to conserve fuel.
Note: All performance figures for still air, ISA conditions with standard fuel reserves.
Crew Normally 12 comprising of two pilots, two flight engineers, two navigators (including tactical co-ordinator), one air electronics officer and four air electronics operators, one air ordnanceman. Can carry a maximum of 21 personnel including crew.
Fleet History The RNZAF took delivery of five P-3B Orions in 1966 (NZ4201 - NZ4205). In 1985 an ex-RAAF P-3B was purchased (NZ4206). All six Orions were upgraded (avionics and radio systems) under Project RIGEL in the early 1980s. Following the upgrade the designation P-3K was applied to these aircraft. Aircraft that have undergone the current upgrade programme are designated P-3K2.