Farewell to "The Mighty Hunter"

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nuuumannn

Major
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9,442
Oct 12, 2011
Nelson
On Tuesday 24 January, the RNZAF bade farewell to the P-3 Orion, which has served the country faithfully for 57 years. I was invited to photograph the event. Here are some pics from the day.

5 Sqn, RNZAF 2023, led by Wg Cdr Glen Donaldson.

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The RNZAF received five P-3Bs in 1966, and bought a sixth from the Royal Australian Air Force in 1985. In RNZAF the P-3 was designated the P-3K, with an upgrade in 2009 as the P-3K2 with modern avionics and capability matching the P-3's replacement, the P-8 Poseidon. The first three were retired in 2021, leaving these three in service.

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More to come...
 
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P-3s departing followed by a three-ship fly past, which was done in weather only a P-3 could love. It played havoc with my camera.

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A busy ramp, with three Hercs, three P-3s, a Sea Sprite and a 757, with a second behind the hangar.

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An interesting what might have been, a Hawker Siddeley Nimrod model in 5 Sqn colours.

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Gate guard at RNZAF Base Whenuapai.

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More images here: Orion farewell, 5 Sqn RNZAF say goodbye to the P-3K2

Thanks for looking.
 
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Great pics Grant.
I've heard a rumour that the Macclesfield Air Force are going to buy two of them from RNZAF to search out and destroy Hippocroccofrogs. These creatures thrive in the wet, dull, cloudy climate here, and the P-3 will be ideal in these conditions.
 
Great pix, Grant!

The only time I see a P-3 around here anymore, is during fire season.

The USN does occasionally fly a P-8 into Redding (RDD) for either touch-n-go practice or over-nighters.

Here's a P-8 flying over my place on approach to RDD, as my place is about 4.8 miles north of of the airport:
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Excellent, mate, the P-8 is gonna replace the P-3s here, too, the first has arrived by has not yet been officially accepted into service, crews are being trained at NAS Jacksonville, FLA at present. I spoke with Wg Cdr Donaldson who said that the P-8 is not that far removed from what the P-3s were doing so systems-wise there's not much in it, but it comes with interoperability and knowledge sharing with other P-8 operators, which is a big plus for the air force. Nice capture, I'm looking forward to seeing the type here.
 

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