Lockheed P-2 Neptune

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P-2 (P2V) Neptune
P2V-7 VP-7 1954.jpg
SP-2H of VP-7 over the Atlantic in the mid-1960s.
Role Maritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare
Manufacturer Lockheed
First flight 17 May 1945
Introduction March 1947
Retired 1984 From military use
Primary users United States Navy
Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
Variants Kawasaki P-2J

The Lockheed P-2 Neptune (designated P2V by the US Navy prior to September 1962) was a Maritime patrol and ASW aircraft. It was developed for the United States Navy by Lockheed to replace the Lockheed PV-1 Ventura and PV-2 Harpoon, and being replaced in turn with the Lockheed P-3 Orion. Designed as a land-based aircraft, the Neptune never made a carrier landing, although a small number of aircraft were converted and deployed as carrier launched stop-gap nuclear bombers which would have to ditch or recover at land bases. The type was successful in export and saw service with several armed forces.

Design and development[edit]

XP2V-1 prototype in 1945
P2V-2 of VP-18 over NAS Jacksonville, 1953

Development of a new land-based patrol bomber began early in World War II, with design work starting at Lockheed's Vega subsidiary as a private venture on 6 December 1941.[1] At first, the new design was considered a low priority compared to other aircraft in development at the time, with Vega also developing and producing the PV-2 Harpoon patrol bomber. On 19 February 1943, the U.S. Navy signed a letter of intent for two prototpe XP2Vs, which was confirmed by a formal contract on 4 April 1944 with a further 15 aircraft being ordered 10 days later.[2] It was not until 1944 that the program went into full swing.[3] A major factor in the design was ease of manufacture and maintenance, and this may have been a major factor in the type's long life and worldwide success. The first aircraft flew in May of 1945. Production began in 1946, and the aircraft was accepted into service in 1947.

Beginning with the P2V-5F model, the Neptune became one of the first aircraft in operational service to be fitted with both piston and jet engines. The Convair B-36, several Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter, Fairchild C-123 Provider, and Avro Shackleton aircraft were also so equipped. To save the weight and complexity of two separate fuel systems, the jet engines on the P2Vs did not burn jet fuel- they burned the same fuel as the piston engines: 115–145 Avgas. The jet pods were fitted with intake doors that were kept closed when the J-34's were not running to prevent them from windmilling, allowing for economical piston-engine-only long-endurance search and patrol operations. In normal U.S. Navy operations, the jet engines were run at full power (97%) to expedite and assure all takeoffs, then shut down when the aircraft reached a safe altitude above ground. Also, the jets were started and kept running at flight idle during low-altitude (500 feet during the day and 1,000 feet at night) anti-submarine and/or anti-shipping operations at sea as a safety measure in case one of the radials developed problems.

Normal crew access was via a ladder on the aft bulkhead of the nosewheel well to a hatch on the left side of the wheel well, then forward to the observer nose or up through another hatch to the main deck. There was also a hatch in the floor of the aft fuselage, near the sonobuoy chutes.

Operational history[edit]

Early Cold War[edit]

Emerson nose turret for Neptune, Naval Aviation Museum, Florida, 2007

Prior to the introduction of the P-3 Orion in the mid-1960s, the Neptune was the primary U.S. land-based anti-submarine patrol aircraft, intended to be operated as the hunter of a '"Hunter-Killer" group, with destroyers employed as killers. Several features aided the P-2 in its hunter role:

  • Sonobuoys could be launched from a station in the aft portion of the fuselage and monitored by radio
  • Some models were equipped with "pointable" twin .50 caliber machine guns in the nose, but most had a forward observation bubble with an observer seat, a feature often seen in images.
  • The AN/ASQ-8 Magnetic Anomaly Detector was fitted in an extended tail, producing a paper chart. Unmarked charts were not classified, but those with annotations were classified as secret.
  • A belly-mounted AN/APS-20 surface-search radar enabled detection of surfaced and snorkeling submarines at considerable distances.

As the P-2 was replaced in the U.S. Navy by the P-3A Orion in active Fleet squadrons in the early and mid-1960s, the P-2 continued to remain operational in the Naval Air Reserve through the mid-1970s, primarily in its SP-2H version. As active Fleet squadrons transitioned to the P-3B and P-3C in the mid- and late-1960s and early 1970s, the Naval Reserve P-2s were eventually replaced by P-3As and P-3Bs and the P-2 exited active U.S. naval service. VP-23 was the last active duty patrol squadron to operate the SP-2H, retiring its last Neptune on 20 February 1970,[4] while the last Naval Reserve patrol squadron to operate the Neptune, VP-94, retired its last SP-2H in 1978.

Nuclear bomber[edit]

A P2V takes off from USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42) in 1951

At the end of World War II, the U.S. Navy felt the need to acquire a nuclear strike capability to maintain its political influence. In the short term, carrier-based aircraft were the best solution. Nuclear munitions at that time were bulky and required a large aircraft to carry them. The U.S. Navy improvised a carrier-based nuclear strike aircraft by modifying the P2V Neptune for carrier takeoff using jet assisted takeoff (JATO) rocket boosters, with initial takeoff tests in 1948. However, the Neptune could not land on a carrier, therefore the crew had to either make their way to a friendly land base after a strike, or ditch in the sea near a U.S. Navy vessel. It was replaced in this emergency role by the North American AJ Savage, the first nuclear strike aircraft that was fully capable of carrier launch and recovery operations; it was also short-lived in that role as the U.S. Navy was adopting fully jet powered nuclear strike aircraft.[5]

Covert operations P2V-7U/RB-69A variants[edit]

Side view of RB-69A (S/N 54-4037), the first converted P2V-7U (BuNo 135612)

In 1954 under Project Cherry, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) obtained five newly built P2V-7 and converted these into P2V-7U/RB-69A variants by Lockheed's Skunk Works at Hangar B5 in Burbank, California, for the CIA's own private fleet of covert ELINT/ferret aircraft. Later, to make up for P2V-7U/RB-69A operational losses, the CIA obtained and converted two existing U.S. Navy P2V-7s, one in September 1962, and one in December 1964 to P2V-7U/RB-69A Phase VI standard, and also acquired an older P2V-5 from the U.S. Navy as a training aircraft in 1963. Test flights were made by lead aircraft at Edwards AFB from 1955 to 1956, all the aircraft painted with dark sea blue color but with USAF markings. In 1957 one P2V-7U was sent to Eglin AFB for testing aircraft performance at low level and under adverse conditions.

The initial two aircraft were sent to Europe, based at Wiesbaden, West Germany, but were later withdrawn in 1959 when the CIA reduced its covert aircraft assets in Europe. The CIA sent the other two P2V-7U/RB-69As to Hsinchu Air Base, Taiwan, where by December 1957, they were given to a "Black Op" unit, the 34th Squadron, better known as the Black Bat Squadron, of the Republic of China Air Force (|ROCAF/Taiwan); these were painted in ROCAF/Taiwan markings. The ROCAF/Taiwan P2V-7U/RB-69A's mission was to conduct low-level penetration flights into mainland China to conduct ELINT/ferret missions including mapping out China's air defense networks, inserting agents via airdrop, and dropping leaflets and supplies. The agreement for plausible deniability between U.S. and ROC governments meant the RB-69A would be manned by ROCAF/Taiwan crew while conducting operational missions, but would be manned by CIA crew when ferrying RB-69A out of Taiwan or other operational area to US.[citation needed]

The P2V-7U/RB-69A flew with ROCAF/Taiwan Black Bat Squadron over China from 1957 to November 1966. All five original aircraft (two crashed in South Korea, three shot down over China) were lost with all hands on board. In January 1967, two remaining RB-69As flew back to NAS Alameda, California, and were converted back to regular U.S. Navy P2H/P2V-7 ASW aircraft configurations.[6][7] Most of the 34th Squadron's Black Op missions still remain classified by the CIA, although a CIA internal draft history, Low-Level Technical Reconnaissance over Mainland China (1955–66), reference CSHP-2.348, written in 1972 that covers CIA/ROCAF/Taiwan 34th Squadron's Black Op missions is known to be in existence but will not be declassified by the CIA until after 2022.[8]

Vietnam War[edit]

OP-2E Neptune area surveillance aircraft of VO-67 Squadron US Navy. The camouflage is green for low level operations over Vietnam

During the Vietnam War, the Neptune was used by the U.S. Navy as a gunship, an overland reconnaissance and sensor deployment aircraft, and in its traditional role as a maritime patrol aircraft. The Neptune was also utilized by the U.S. Army's 1st Radio Research Company (Aviation), call sign "Crazy Cat", based at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam, as an electronic "ferret" aircraft intercepting low-powered tactical voice and morse code radio signals.[9] The U.S. Army operated the P-2 from 1967[9] until 1972, flying 42,500 hours with no accidents.[10] Observation Squadron 67 (VO-67), call sign "Lindy", was the only P-2 Neptune aircraft squadron to ever receive the Presidential Unit Citation,[citation needed] flying Igloo White missions sowing seismic and acoustic sensors over the Ho Chi Minh Trail.[11] VO-67 lost three OP-2E aircraft and 20 aircrew to ground fire during its secret missions into Laos and Vietnam in 1967–68. The ROCAF/Taiwan's secret 34th Squadron's RB-69A/P2V-7U ELINT/SIGINT aircraft flew a low level electronic reconnaissance from Da Nang, flying over Thanh Hóa Province on 20 August 1963 to investigate an air resupply drop zone that turned out to be a set trap for a Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) C-123B airdrop mission 10 days earlier due to the air-inserted agents having been captured and turned. Next year, an air defense radar mapping mission was also flown by 34th Squadron's RB-69A/P2V-7U aircraft into North Vietnam and Laos on the night of 16 March 1964. The RB-69A took off from Da Nang, flew up the Gulf of Tonkin before coasting in near Haiphong, then flew down North Vietnam and the Laos border. The mission was requested by SOG for helping plan the insert or resupply of agents. Seven AAA sites, 14 early warning radar sites and two GCI radar signals were detected.[8]

Falklands War[edit]

The Argentine Naval Aviation had received at least 16 Neptunes in different variants since 1958 including eight former RAF examples for use in the Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Exploración (Naval exploration squadron). They were intensively used in 1978 during the Operation Soberania against Chile including over the Pacific Ocean.[12]

During the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas) in 1982, the last two airframes in service (2-P-111 and 2-P-112) played a key role of reconnaissance and aiding Dassault Super Étendards, particularly on 4 May attack against HMS Sheffield. The lack of spare parts, caused by the U.S. having enacted an arms embargo in 1977 due to the Dirty War, led to the type being retired before the end of the war; Argentine Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules took over the task of searching for targets for strike aircraft.

In 1983, the unit was reformed with Lockheed L-188 Electras modified for maritime surveillance; in 1994 these were replaced with P-3B Orions.

Other military operators[edit]

The Canadian version of the Lockheed Neptune (P2V-7) served as an anti-submarine, anti-shipping and maritime reconnaissance aircraft in the RCAF Maritime Air Command from 1955, being fitted with just piston engines initially. In 1957, the Neptunes had two underwing Westinghouse J34 jet engine pods installed. This conversion provided additional thrust for an improved takeoff, increased endurance by allowing higher weights of fuel and generally improved the overall performance of the aircraft. (These pods were fitted with inlet shutters for drag reduction when not in use; similar pods were fitted to U.S. Navy variants.) Armament included two torpedoes, mines, depth charges, bombs carried internally plus unguided rockets mounted externally underwing. A total of 25 Neptunes served with nos. 404, 405 and 407 squadrons. Upon unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968, the Neptune was re-designated the CP-122 and was replaced by the Canadair CP-107 Argus the same year.[13]

The Royal Air Force Coastal Command operated 52 P2V-5s, designated Neptune MR.1s as a stop-gap modern maritime patrol aircraft until the Avro Shackleton could enter service.[14] They were used from between 1952[15] and March 1957,[16] being used for Airborne Early Warning experiments as well as for maritime patrol.[17]

In Australia, the Netherlands, and the U.S. Navy, its tasks were taken over by the larger and more capable Lockheed P-3 Orion, and by the 1970s, it was in use only by patrol squadrons in the U.S. Naval Reserve and the Dutch Navy.[citation needed] The U.S. Naval Reserve abandoned its last Neptunes in 1978, those aircraft also having been replaced by the P-3 Orion. By the 1980s, the Neptune had fallen out of military use in most purchasing nations, replaced by newer aircraft.

Neptune Aviation Services' P-2V Neptune drops Phos-Chek on the 2007 WSA Complex fire in Oregon.

In Japan, the Neptune was license-built from 1966 by Kawasaki as the P-2J, with the piston engines replaced by IHI-built T64 turboprops. Kawasaki continued their manufacture much later than Lockheed did; the P-2J remained in service until 1984.

Civilian firefighting[edit]

P-2/P2Vs are currently employed in aerial firefighting roles by operators such as Minden Air Corp and Neptune Aviation Services. The fire fighters can carry 2,080 gal (7,874 l) of retardant and have a service life of 15,000 hours. Neptune proposes to replace them with British Aerospace 146 aircraft which are estimated to have a service life of 80,000 hours and carry upwards of 3,000 gallons of retardant.[18]

"The Truculent Turtle"[edit]

The third production P2V-1 was chosen for a record-setting mission, ostensibly to test crew endurance and long-range navigation but also for publicity purposes: to display the capabilities of the U.S. Navy's latest patrol bomber. Its nickname was "The Turtle", which was painted on the aircraft's nose (along with a cartoon of a turtle smoking a pipe pedaling a device attached to a propeller). However, in press releases immediately before the flight, the U.S. Navy referred to it as "The Truculent Turtle".[19]

P2V-1 "The Turtle" in 1946

Loaded with fuel in extra tanks fitted in practically every spare space in the aircraft, "The Turtle" set out from Perth, Australia to the United States. With a crew of four (and a nine-month-old gray kangaroo, a gift from Australia for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.) the aircraft set off on 9 September 1946, with a RATO (rocket-assisted takeoff). 2 1/2 days (55h, 18m) later, "The Turtle" touched down in Columbus, Ohio, 11,236.6 mi (18,083.6 km) from its starting point. It was the longest un-refueled flight made to that point – 4,000 mi (6,400 km) longer than the U.S. Air Force's Boeing B-29 Superfortress record. This would stand as the absolute unrefueled distance record until 1962 (beaten by a USAF Boeing B-52 Stratofortress), and would remain as a piston-engined record until 1986 when Dick Rutan's Voyager would break it in the process of circumnavigating the globe. "The Turtle" is preserved at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola.

Variants[edit]

P2V-3 of VP-5 in 1953
P2V-5 with nose turret in 1952
An OP-2E of VO-67 in 1967/68 over Laos
P-2H of VP-56 in 1963
Restored French P-2H in Australia, 2004
U.S. Navy AP-2H of VAH-21
Minden Air's Tanker 55, formerly an SP-2H, at Fox Field
RB-69A of the CIA in USAF markings at Eglin AFB, Florida in 1957.
U.S. Army AP-2E also designated RP-2E used in SIGINT/ELINT operations in Vietnam. The Burbank Boomerang is on display at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Ft. Rucker Alabama.

Lockheed produced seven main variants of the P2V. In addition, Kawasaki built the turboprop-powered P-2J in Japan.

XP2V-1
Prototype, two built. Powered by two 2,300 horsepower (1,700 kW) Wright R-3350-8 engines with four-bladed propellers, with armament of two .50 in machine guns in nose, tail and dorsal turrets, and 8,000 pounds (3,600 kg) of stores in an internal bomb bay.[3]
P2V-1
First production model with R-3350-8A engine. Provision for 16 5 inches (130 mm) HVAR or 4 11 34 inches (300 mm) Tiny Tim rockets underwing; 14 built.[20]
XP2V-2
Fifth production P2V-1 modified as a prototype for P2V-2. Powered by with water injected R-3350-24W engines.[21]
P2V-2
Second production model, powered by two 2,800 horsepower (2,100 kW) R-3350-24W engines driving and three-bladed propellers. Nose turret replaced by "attack" nose fitted with six fixed 20 mm cannon. First eight aircraft retained Bell tail turret fitted with twin .50 machine guns, with remaining aircraft using Emerson tail turret with twin 20 mm cannon. 80 built.[20][21]
P2V-2N "Polar Bear"
Two P2V-2 modified for polar exploration under Project Ski Jump. Armament removed, with ski landing gear and provision for JATO rockets. Fitted with early MAD gear for magnetic survey purposes. Used for Operation Deep Freeze Antarctic exploration.[20][22] The specially modified P2Vs had 16-foot long aluminum skis that were attached to the main landing gear units that when retracted, tucked into fairing just below the engines. This way the modified P2vs could still land on a regular runway surface.[23]
P2V-2S
One P2V-2 modified as a prototype anti-submarine variant with an AN/APS-20 search radar and additional fuel.[24]
P2V-3
Improved patrol bomber with 3,200 horsepower (2,400 kW) R-3350-26W engines with jet stack engine exhausts. 53 built.[24][25]
P2V-3B
Conversions from other P2V-3 models, including P2V-3C and −3W, fitted with the ASB-1 Low Level Radar Bombing System; 16 converted.[26]
P2V-3C
Stop-gap carrier based one-way nuclear-armed bomber, not intended to return for a landing on a carrier. Fitted with JATO rocket to aid take-off from carrier and more fuel. Nose guns and dorsal turret removed to save weight. Eleven P2V-3s and one P2V-2 modified.[27]
P2V-3W
Airborne Early Warning variant, AN/APS-20 search radar; 30 built.[27]
P2V-3Z
VIP combat transport with armored cabin in rear fuselage with seats for six passengers. Retained tail turret. Two converted from P2V-3s.[27]
P2V-4
Improved anti-submarine aircraft. Fitted with AN/APS-20 search radar and provision for dropping sonobuoys with additional dedicated sonobuoy operator. Underwing tip-tanks added, with searchlight in nose of starboard tip tank. First 25 aircraft powered by 3,200 horsepower (2,400 kW) R-3350-26WA engines, with remaining 27 powered by 3,250 horsepower (2,420 kW) Wright R-3350-30W turbo-compound engines. 52 built in total. Surviving aircraft redesignated P-2D in 1962.[27][28]
P2V-5
Fitted with Emerson nose turret with two 20 mm cannon replacing solid nose of earlier versions, while retaining dorsal and tail turrets. New, larger, jettisonable tip tanks, with traverable searchlight slaved to nose turret in front of starboard tip-tank and AN/APS-8 radar in nose of port tip-tank. AN/APS-20 search radar under fuselage. Later aircraft featured glazed observation nose and MAD gear in place of nose and tail turrets, and revised crew accommodation, with many earlier aircraft refitted.[29][30] Dorsal turret often removed. 424 built.[31]
P2V-5F
Modification with two 3,250 pounds-force (14.5 kN) J34 jet engines to increase power on take-off, and 3,500 horsepower (2,600 kW) R-3350-32W piston engines.[32] The J34 engines and R-3350 had a common fuel system burning AvGas rather than having dedicated jet fuel (as did all Neptunes with jets except the Kawasaki P-2J).[citation needed] Four underwing rocket pylons removed but increased 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) weapon load.[29] Redesignated P-2E in 1962.[33]
P2V-5FD
P2V-5F converted for drone launch missions. All weaponry deleted. Redesignated DP-2E in 1962.[29]
P2V-5FE
P2V-5F with additional electronic equipment. Redesiognated EP-2E in 1962.[33]
P2V-5FS
P2V-5F with Julie/Jezebel ASW gear, featuring AQA-3 long range acoustic search equipment and Julie explosive echo sounding gear. Redesignated SP-2E in 1962.[33]
AP-2E
Designation applied to P2V-5F with special SIGINT/ELINT equipment used by the U.S. Army's 1st Radio Research Company at Cam Ranh Bay. Carrying a crew of up to fifteen, the AP-2E was the heaviest P-2, with a take-off weight of up to 80,000 pounds (36,000 kg).[11] Five converted (also designated RP-2E).[34]
NP-2E
Single P-2E converted as permanent test aircraft.[35]
OP-2E
Modified for use as part of Operation Igloo White for sensor deployment over South-East Asia with Observation Squadron 67 (VO-67). Fitted with terrain avoidance radar in nose, chaff dispensers, wing mounted gun pods and waist guns. 12 converted.[11]
P2V-6
Multi-role version with lengthened weapons bay and provision for aerial minelaying and photo-reconnaissance. Smaller AN/APS-70 radar instead of AN/APS-20. Initially fitted with gun turrets as P2V-5, although retaining ability to be refitted with glazed nose. A total of 67 were built for the U.S. Navy and France.[33][36] Redesignated P-2F in 1962.[37]
P2V-6B
Anti-shipping version with provision to carry two AUM-N-2 Petrel anti-ship missiles. 16 built. Later redesignated P2V-6M then MP-2F.[33][36]
P2V-6F
P2V-6 refitted with J34 jet engines. Redesignated P-2G.[33]
P2V-6T
Crew trainer conversion with armament deleted, wingtip tanks often deleted. Redesignated TP-2F.[33][37]
P2V-7
Last Neptune variant produced by Lockheed, powered by R-3350-32W and J-34 engines. Fitted with lower drag wingtip tanks, AN/APS-20 search radar in a revised radome and a bulged cockpit canopy. Early aircraft were fitted with defensive gun turrets but these were removed as for the P2V-5.[38] 287 were built, including 48 assembled by Kawasaki in Japan.[33] Redesignated P-2H in 1962.[39]
P2V-7B
15 aircraft with non-glazed nose fitted with four fixed 20 mm cannon for Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service. Subsequently fitted with glazed nose and modified to SP-2H standard.[33] Supplemented by four SP-2H from France.[40]
P2V-7LP
Four aircraft built with wheel/ski landing gear and JATO gear for Antarctic operations. Redesignated LP-2J.[33] (No relation to Kawasaki P-2J)
P2V-7S
Additional ASW/ECM equipment including Julie/Jezebel gear. Redesignated SP-2H.[35]
P2V-7U
Naval designation of the RB-69A variant.[36]
AP-2H
AP-2H of Heavy Attack Squadron VAH-21
Specialized night and all-weather ground attack variant fitted with FLIR and Low Light TV systems, tail turret, fuselage mounted grenade launchers and downwards firing miniguns. Bombs and napalm carried on underwing pylons. Four converted in 1968 for Heavy Attack Squadron 21 (VAH-21) for operation over South Vietnam.[38]
DP-2H
P-2H converted for drone launch and control.[41]
EP-2H
Single P-2H modified with UHF telemetry equipment instead of ASW systems.[41]
NP-2H
Testbed conversion of P2V-H.[41]
RB-69A
Five new built and two converted from P2V-7s[35] for CIA covert operations, obtained with USAF help and operated by ROCAF/Taiwan's 34th Squadron. Aerial reconnaissance/ELINT platform, modular sensor packages fitted depended on the mission needs. Originally fitted with Westinghouse APQ-56 Side Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR), the APQ-24 search radar, the Fairchild Mark IIIA cameras, the APR-9/13 radar intercept receiver, the QRC-15 DF system, the APA-69A DF display, the APA-74 pulse analyser, the Ampex tape recorder, the System 3 receiver to intercept enemy communications, the APS-54 RWR, a noise jammer, the RADAN system doppler radar navigation, and others. In May 1959, an upgrade program known as Phase VI was approved, and added the ATIR air-to-air radar jammer, replacing APR-9/13 with ALQ-28 ferret system, the QRC-15, 3 14-channel recorders and 1 7-channel high speed recorder to record ELINT systems, the K-band receiver, the ASN-7 navigation computer replacing RADAN, and Fulton Skyhook system.[42][verification needed]
SC-139
The SC-139 designation was requested for a planned transport version of the Neptune; the designation was disapproved, and none of the planned aircraft were built.[citation needed]
Neptune MR.1
British designation of P2V-5; 52 delivered.[43]
CP-122 Neptune
RCAF designation of P2V-7.(jet pod not initially fitted to 25 P2V-7 aircraft delivered to RCAF, but subsequently retrofitted)[44]
Kawasaki P-2J (P2V-Kai)
Japanese variant produced by Kawasaki for JMSDF with T64 turboprop engines, various other improvements; 82 built.[41]

Operators[edit]

A RAAF SP-2H with a USN P-5 and a RNZAF Sunderland in 1963
A Neptune MR.1 of 217 Sqn Coastal Command RAF in 1953
Aero Union P-2 Tanker 16 at Fox Field in 2003, without jet engines
Neptune Aviation Services' Tanker 44 takes off from Fox Field to fight the California wildfires of October 2007

Military operators[edit]

 Argentina
 Australia
 Brazil
 Canada
 France
 Japan
 Netherlands
 Portugal
 Republic of China
 United Kingdom
 United States

Civilian operators[edit]

Survivors[edit]

There are a few Neptunes that have been restored and are on display in museums and parks.[46]

Argentina[edit]

On display
SP-2H

Australia[edit]

Airworthy
P-2H

Canada[edit]

On display
EP-2H

Chile[edit]

To be displayed is the Neptune /Firestar registered CC-CHU of Heliworks Ltda. Currently dismantled in Concepción/Carriel Sur airport, the ex BuNo 147967 and N703AU/Tanker 03, its incorporation into the collection of Chile's Museo Nacional Aeronáutico y del Espacio at the former Los Cerrillos airport in Santiago, was announced during the ceremony of the 69th Anniversary of Museum on July 4, 2013.

Anniversary of Chile's Air & Space Museum (in Spanish)

United Kingdom[edit]

On display
P-2H

United States[edit]

Airworthy
P2V-5
P2V-5F/P-2E
P2V-7/P-2H
P2V-7S/SP-2H
On display
P2V-1
P2V-5F/P-2E
P2V-5FS/AP-2E
P2V-5FS/SP-2E
P2V-7/P-2H
P2V-7S/AP-2H
P2V-7S/SP-2H
Under restoration
P2V-5FS/SP-2E

Specifications[edit]

P2V-3[edit]

Data from Combat Aircraft since 1945[95]

General characteristics

Performance

Armament

  • Rockets: 2.75 in (70 mm) FFAR in removable wing-mounted pods
  • Bombs: 8,000 lb (3,629 kg) including free-fall bombs, depth charges, and torpedoes

P-2H (P2V-7)[edit]

Lockheed P2V-7(P-2H) Neptune

Data from Combat Aircraft since 1945[95]

General characteristics

Performance

Armament

  • Rockets: 2.75 in (70 mm) FFAR in removable wing-mounted pods
  • Bombs: 8,000 lb (3,629 kg) including free-fall bombs, depth charges, and torpedoes

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 27 November 1950, a P2V-2 crashed while conducting a test run with rockets near Kaena Point in Hawaii. The starboard wing separated from the aircraft. The crew of five died upon impact.[96]
  • On 22 June 1955, a P2V-5 of VP-9 (BuNo 131515), flying a patrol mission from Kodiak, Alaska, was attacked over the Bering Straits by two Soviet Air Forces MiG-15s. The P2V crash-landed on St. Lawrence Island after an engine was set afire. Of the eleven crew members, including pilot Richard F. Fischer, co-pilot David M. Lockhard, Donald E. Sonnek, Thaddeus Maziarz, Martin E. Berg, Eddie Benko, David Assard and Charles Shields, four sustained injuries due to gunfire and six were injured during the landing. The U.S. demanded $724,947 in compensation; the USSR finally paid half this amount.[N 3][N 4]
  • On 12 April 1957, a P2V-5F (BUNO131452) of VP-26 crash on take off during a short takeoff practice exercise at NAS Brunswick, Maine. The apparent cause was a runaway varicam elevator control which caused a hammerhead stall at very low altitude. The aircraft did an overhead loop reversing its direction but crashed into the woods near the take off end of the runway next to the base golf course. There were no survivors. [101]
  • On 4 February 1959, RAAF A89-308 crashed at Richmond NSW, Australia. All eight crew died. The port engine began to disintegrate causing a fuel leak in the wheel well. The resulting fire severed the magnesium wing spar, and the aircraft fell from the sky before the crew could bail out.
  • On 25 March 1960, an RB-69A/P2V-7U (7101/140442/54-4040) crashed into a hill near Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, during a low level ferry flight from Hsinchu, Taiwan to stage area in Kunsan, South Korea. All 14 aircrew on board were killed.[8]
  • On 6 November 1961, an RB-69A/P2V-7U (7099/140440/54-4039) conducting a low level penetration flight over mainland China was shot down by ground fire over Liaodong peninsula. All 14 aircrew on board were killed in action.[8]
  • On 9 November 1961, an P2V-7LP (BuNo 140439) of VX-6 crashed on takeoff from Wilkes Station Antarctica, where it had refuelled en route back to McMurdo Station. Four aircrew and one passenger were killed, with four aircrew surviving.[102]
  • On 8 January 1962, a RB-69A/P2V-7U(7097/140438/54-4038) crashed into the Korea Bay while conducting ELINT and leaflet dropping missions. All 14 aircrew on board were killed in action.[8]
  • On 12 January 1962, a P2V-5 (designation LA-9) flew off course during a patrol over the Denmark Strait and crashed on the Kronborg Glacier in eastern Greenland. All 12 crew were killed. The wreckage was discovered by a party of British geologists in 1966.[103]
  • On 19 June 1963, a RB-69A/P2V-7U(7105/141233/54-4041) was conducting ELINT mission over mainland China, and was shot down by PLAAF MiG-17PF over Linchuan, Jiangxi, after intercepted repeatedly by multiple MiG-17PFs and Tu-4Ps. All 14 aircrew on board were killed in action.[8]
  • On 11 June 1964, a RB-69A/P2V-7U (7047/135612/54-4037) was conducting ELINT mission over mainland China, and was shot down by PLAN-AF MiG-15 over Shandong peninsula, after intercepted by MiG-15s and Il-28s. All 13 aircrew on board were killed in action.[8]
  • On 5 September 2008, a Neptune Aviation Services Lockheed Neptune registered N4235T, crashed soon after takeoff from Reno/Stead Airport, Reno, Nevada. The left engine and then left wing were seen to catch fire before the aircraft crashed. All three crew members on board were killed.[104]
  • On 3 June 2012, while engaged in firefighting operations in Utah, a Neptune Aviation Services Lockheed Neptune registered N14447, crashed. Two crew members were killed.[105]

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ During the Korean War, the U.S. Navy operated a number of specially equipped Lockheed P2V Neptune's flying ELINT sorties against the Soviet Union...[97]
  2. ^ P2V-5 (BuNo 127744) was shot down by Chinese antiaircraft fire near Swatow.[98]
  3. ^ USN P2V-5 Neptune of VP-9 (BuNo 131515)[99]
  4. ^ (This was the only incident in which the Soviet Union admitted any responsibility.[100])

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Scutts Air International January 1995, pp. 42–43.
  2. ^ Francillon 1982, pp. 258–259.
  3. ^ a b Francillon 1982, p. 259.
  4. ^ "Third VP-22." Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons, Volume 2. Retrieved: 22 April 2011.
  5. ^ Swanborough and Bowers 1976, p. 458.
  6. ^ Baugher, Joe. "U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps Aircraft Bureau Numbers (Third Series: 15)." www.joebaugher.com. Retrieved: 4 October 2010.
  7. ^ Baugher, Joe. "U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps Aircraft Bureau Numbers (Third Series: 19)." www.joebaugher.com. Retrieved: 4 October 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Pocock, Chris. The Black Bats: CIA Spy Flights Over China From Taiwan, 1951–1969. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2010. ISBN 978-0-7643-3513-6.
  9. ^ a b Mutza Air Enthusiast Twenty-nine, p. 42.
  10. ^ Mutza Air Enthusiast Twenty-nine, p. 77.
  11. ^ a b c Scutts Air International February 1995, p. 82.
  12. ^ "AS Neptune." Historia y Arqueologia Marítima. Retrieved: 15 July 2010.
  13. ^ "Lockheed Neptune." rcaf.com. Retrieved: 15 July 2010.
  14. ^ Howard Air Pictorial August 1972, p. 284.
  15. ^ Howard Air Pictorial August 1972, p. 285.
  16. ^ Howard Air Pictorial September 1972, p. 360.
  17. ^ Howard Air Pictorial August 1972, pp. 285–286.
  18. ^ Chaney, Rob. "Neptune Aviation wins contract for 2 more retardant bombers." The Billings Gazette, 14 June 2012. Retrieved: 15 June 2012.
  19. ^ Sullivan 1985, pp. 7–9.
  20. ^ a b c Scutts Air International January 1995, p. 43.
  21. ^ a b Francillon 1982, p. 260.
  22. ^ Sullivan 1985, p. 12.
  23. ^ "Skis for Navy Arctic Plane." Popular Mechanics, February 1950, p. 121.
  24. ^ a b Francillon 1982, p. 261.
  25. ^ Scutts Air International January 1995, p. 45.
  26. ^ Sullivan 1985, p. 16.
  27. ^ a b c d Francillon 1982, p. 262.
  28. ^ Sullivan 1985, p. 21.
  29. ^ a b c Sullivan 1985, p. 27.
  30. ^ Francillon 1982, p. 263.
  31. ^ Scutts Air International January 1995, p. 46.
  32. ^ Francillon 1982, pp. 263–264.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Francillon 1982, p. 264.
  34. ^ Mutza Air Enthusiast Twenty-nine, pp. 39–40.
  35. ^ a b c Francillon 1982, p. 266.
  36. ^ a b c Scutts Air International February 1995, p. 81.
  37. ^ a b Sullivan 1985, p. 70.
  38. ^ a b Sullivan 1985, p. 43.
  39. ^ Scutts Air International February 1995, p. 87.
  40. ^ Scutts Air International February 1995, p. 86.
  41. ^ a b c d Francillon 1982, p. 267.
  42. ^ Goebel, Greg. "The Lockheed P2V Neptune & Martin Mercator." vectorsite.net, 1 December 2009. Retrieved: 15 July 2010.
  43. ^ Scutts Air International February 1995, pp. 80–81.
  44. ^ "Canadian Military Aircraft Designations." Designation-systems.net. Retrieved: 15 July 2010.
  45. ^ "Lockheed SP-2H Neptune" (in Spanish). Historia y Arqueologia Marítima website. Retrieved: 15 July 2010.
  46. ^ "Lockheed P-2s On Display." AeroWeb. Retrieved: 3 October 2010.
  47. ^ "SP-2H serial 2-P-112." Museo Aeronaval. Retrieved: 3 October 2010.
  48. ^ "Google maps." google.com. Retrieved: 3 October 2010.
  49. ^ "Lockheed Neptune P2V-7 A89-273 VH-IOY." Historical Aircraft Restoration Society, 2 May 2009. Retrieved: 22 April 2011.
  50. ^ "P2V Neptune BuNo. 147968." Warbird Registry Retrieved: 2 April 2012.
  51. ^ "P2V Neptune s/n 204." RAF Museum Cosford. Retrieved: 2 April 2012.
  52. ^ "FAA Registry: N205EV" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  53. ^ "FAA Registry: N204EV" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  54. ^ "FAA Registry: N1386C" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  55. ^ "FAA Registry: N807NA" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  56. ^ "FAA Registry: N13859" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  57. ^ "FAA Registry: N96264" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  58. ^ "FAA Registry: N203EV" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  59. ^ "FAA Registry: N9855F" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  60. ^ "FAA Registry: N96278" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  61. ^ "FAA Registry: N410NA" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  62. ^ "FAA Registry: N202EV" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  63. ^ "FAA Registry: N14447" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  64. ^ "FAA Registry: N8056D" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  65. ^ "FAA Registry: N445NA" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  66. ^ "FAA Registry: N128HP" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  67. ^ "FAA Registry: N173AM" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  68. ^ "FAA Registry: N443NA" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  69. ^ "FAA Registry: N949RR" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  70. ^ "FAA Registry: N122HP" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  71. ^ "FAA Registry: N2216S" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  72. ^ "FAA Registry: N2218E" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  73. ^ "FAA Registry: N2218Q" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  74. ^ "FAA Registry: N360RR" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  75. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 148360" Erickson Aircraft Collection Retrieved: 19 August 2014.
  76. ^ "FAA Registry: N362RR" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  77. ^ "FAA Registry: N125HP" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  78. ^ "FAA Registry: N4235N" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  79. ^ "FAA Registry: N45309" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  80. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 145915" Mid-Atlantic Air Museum Retrieved: 19 August 2014.
  81. ^ "FAA Registry: N63819" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  82. ^ "FAA Registry: N714AU" FAA.gov Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  83. ^ "FAA Registry: N4692A" FAA.gov Retrieved: 3 April 2012.
  84. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 89082." National Museum of Naval Aviation. Retrieved: 19 August 2014.
  85. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 131410." warbirdregistry.org Retrieved: 2 April 2012.
  86. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 131485." U.S. Army Aviation Museum. Retrieved: 20 August 2014.
  87. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 128402." Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum. Retrieved: 2 April 2012.
  88. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 147957." Pima Air and Space Museum. Retrieved: 19 August 2014.
  89. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 147966." warbirdregistry.org Retrieved: 2 April 2012.
  90. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 135620." Pima Air and Space Museum. Retrieved: 19 August 2014.
  91. ^ "P-2H Neptune/Bu. 147954." Museum of Aviation, Robins AFB. Retrieved: 3 October 2010.
  92. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 141234." National Museum of Naval Aviation. Retrieved: 19 August 2014.
  93. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 150279." warbirdregistry.org Retrieved: 2 April 2012.
  94. ^ "P2V Neptune/Bu. 131542." williammaloney.com/Aviation Retrieved: 19 August 2014.
  95. ^ a b Wilson 2000, p. 82.
  96. ^ "VP-4 Mishaps"
  97. ^ "Lockheed P2V/RB69A Neptune." Spyflight. Retrieved: 22 April 2011.
  98. ^ "Cold War Incidents Involving U.S. Navy Aircraft, Date: 18 Jan 1953 Aircraft: P2V-5 Squadron: VP-22." American Military and Naval History. Retrieved: 22 April 2011.
  99. ^ van Waarde, Jan. "VP-9 Mishap." VPNAVY, 24 January 2011. Retrieved: 22 April 2011.
  100. ^ "Cold War Incidents Involving U.S. Navy Aircraft, Date: 22 Jun 1955 Aircraft: P2V-5 Squadron: VP-9." American Military and Naval History. Retrieved: 22 April 2011.
  101. ^ name Sederquist AT3 Fasron 108
  102. ^ "The Crash of Buno 140439." radiocom.net. Retrieved: 20 May 2012.
  103. ^ Brooks, Kent (2 December 2010). "The loss, discovery, and rediscovery of the crew of U.S. Navy LA-9 at Kronborg Glacier, east Greenland". Polar Record 47 (02): 181–184. doi:10.1017/S0032247410000288. 
  104. ^ "ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 75296." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved: 11 January 2011.
  105. ^ "Air tanker crashes while battling Utah blaze." MSNBC.com. Retrieved: 3 June 2012.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Donald, David, ed. "Lockheed P2V Neptune". The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997. ISBN 0-7607-0592-5
  • Eden, Paul. "Lockheed P2V Neptune". Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft. London: Amber Books, 2004. ISBN 1-904687-84-9.
  • Francillon, René J. Lockheed Aircraft since 1913. London: Putnam, 1982. ISBN 0-370-30329-6.
  • Howard, Peter J. "The Lockheed Neptune in R.A.F. Service: Part 1". Air Pictorial, Vol. 34, No. 8, August 1972, pp. 284–289, 294.
  • Howard, Peter J. "The Lockheed Neptune in R.A.F. Service: Part 2". Air Pictorial, Vol. 34, No. 9, September 1972, pp. 356–360.
  • Mutza, Wayne. "Army Neptunes...Over South East Asia". Air Enthusiast, Twenty-nine, November 1985 – February 1986. pp. 35–42, 73–77. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Scutts, Jerry. "Tractable Turtle: The Lockheed Neptune Story: Part 1". Air International, Vol. 48, No. 1, January 1995. pp. 42–46. ISSN 0306-5634.
  • Scutts, Jerry. "Tractable Turtle: The Lockheed Neptune Story: Part 2". Air International, Vol. 48, No. 2, February 1995. pp. 80–87. ISSN 0306-5634.
  • Swanborough, Gordon and Peter M. Bowers. United States Navy Aircraft since 1911. London: Putnam, Second edition, 1976. ISBN 0-370-10054-9.
  • Sullivan, Jim, P2V Neptune in action. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1985. ISBN 978-0-89747-160-2.
  • Wilson, Stewart. Combat Aircraft since 1945. Fyshwick, ACT, Australia: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd., 2000. ISBN 1-875671-50-1.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]