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Adelaide to farewell Orions after 50 years of rescues, military operations


Army.ca Myth
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The AP-3Cs that are being retired aren't the originals they've flown since the 60s; they were bought in the 80s and upgraded until the P-8A came online.

After 50 years of military service for Australia, the Orion P-3 is being retired, leaving behind a legacy that includes rescuing sailors, searching for MH370, and Middle East missions.

On Tuesday the media was given a final flight on an AP-3C Orion, the third variant of the plane since Orions first entered the service to undertake marine surveillance duties in 1968.

"I think it's the last of the real pilot's aircraft in the Air Force," Air Force Number 10 Squadron Commanding Officer and Wing Commander Colin Smith said.

He said the Orions had been involved in a number of high profile operations, including the rescue of British sailor Tony Bullimore in 1997, who capsized 2,500 kilometres off the Australian coast in the Southern Ocean during an around-the-world race.

The Orions were also involved in rescuing another sailor, Thierry Dubois, during the same race.

"We spent 10 years in the Middle East, flying in support of the Army and the multinational coalition against terror over there," Wing Commander Smith said.

"And we've been doing border protection work for nearly 20 years now, with an aircraft continuously working to the north and north-west of Australia to protect the borders."

The four-propeller Orions are being replaced with the jet-propelled P-8A Poseidons and unmanned MQ-4C Tritons.

"I could never see myself as being a jet jockey, but the P-8's biggest advantage is it's modern," Wing Commander Smith said.

"It's much more reliable than the P-3 and its computers and sensors are more capable, but it's not as robust or versatile as the P-3, in my opinion."

I'm sure Canada will be aling shortly to buy them.

I am not even joking.
Update: Final flight was today.