Old School Orions

Photo by Marsha Childs

Three US Navy P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft were recently repainted in heritage paint schemes as part of the ongoing Centennial of Naval Aviation. Personnel at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, repainted two of the aircraft. The first is the seaplane gray scheme used on P5M Marlin, P2V Neptune, and on some PBM Mariner aircraft from 1957 to 1963. The latest aircraft (shown here) is painted like a Vietnam-era EP-3B electronic reconnaissance variant used in a classified reconnaissance program called Bat Rack. NIPPI Corporation in Atsugi, Japan, painted the other P-3, which replicates the scheme worn by the PBY-5A Catalina flying boats of Patrol Squadron 44 (VP-44), whose crews located the Imperial Japanese Fleet before the 1942 Battle of Midway.

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