By VP-40 Public Affairs
The last active duty P-3C Orion departed Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on March 29.
Patrol Squadron 40 is the last active duty P-3C squadron. On March 25th, VP-40’s first P-3C Orion aircraft departed NAS Whidbey to mark the beginning of the last P-3C squadron to deploy in support of US interests worldwide.
After finishing a 12-month inter-deployment readiness cycle at NAS Whidbey, they departed across different countries and continents within the US 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.
VP-40 has been flying the P-3C aircraft since 1975 and have taken the platform all over the world in support of multiple exercises and operations.
While VP-40 is the last active duty squadron to fly P-3s, there will still be P-3s on Whidbey Island. The Naval Reserve squadron, VP-69, is not scheduled to transition away from the P-3C during 2019, but VP-40 sun-downs the P-3C with this final deployment. VQ-1 will also continue to fly E-P3s for a few more years.
The P-3 platform was introduced by Lockheed Martin to the Navy in 1962. It has been utilized for decades in anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, drug interdiction and information, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
The P-3C has operated over all of the world’s oceans and in many of U.S conflicts.
“We could not be more proud of the effort given by the men and women of VP-40,” said Cmdr. Patrick O’Reilly, VP-40’s commanding officer.
“It’s had its challenges, but our sailors have succeeded in this fight with exceptional results.
“VP-40 has had many successes this IDRC, to include nearly perfect scores in the Conventional Weapons Technical Proficiency Inspection, the Chief of Naval Air Forces Aviation Maintenance Inspection and the Fleet NATOPS Evaluation. They also dominated operationally by participating in exercises supporting the U.S.S. John C. Stennis COMPTUEX, U.S.S. Boxer ARG MEUEX, Air Wing Fallon, and manned the Homeland Defense detachment while simultaneously training and preparing for its upcoming deployment.
“Even when the aircraft fought against us, even when the tempo was high and the days were long, we continued to fight,” O’Reilly said.
“We intend to honor the platform’s final deployment by living the legacy of all those that have gone before us and continuing to fight to the finish.”