|CP-140 Aurora |
|Type||Maritime patrol aircraft|
|Primary user||Canadian Forces|
|Developed from||P-3 Orion|
The Lockheed CP-140 Aurora is a Canadian Forces Air Command (AIRCOM) maritime patrol aircraft (MPA). The aircraft is based on the Lockheed P-3 Orion airframe, but mounts the more advanced electronics suite of the S-3 Viking. Aurora is the Greek goddess who restored Orion's eyesight.
The CP-140A Arcturus is a related variant used primarily for pilot training and coastal surface patrol missions.
Design and development
The CP-140 Aurora is virtually identical externally to the Lockheed P-3C Orion predecessor, but internally is quite different, using computer systems that were first installed in yet another Lockheed anti-submarine warfare aircraft, the carrier-based S-3A Viking. The aircraft's sensors are primarily intended for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) work but are also capable of maritime surveillance, counter-drug and search-and-rescue missions. Current Operations have the CP-140 as Canada's only strategic Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, conducting Long range missions; Over-Land, Over-Water and the Littoral areas. These missions are flown in support of CANCOM, CEFCOM, CANSOFCOM, the RCMP, as well as several other federal government departments.
The aircraft were acquired in the early 1980s to replace the CP-107 Argus and to further support Canada's anti-submarine warfare mission obligations under NATO for the northwest Atlantic sector. However, since the end of the Cold War, they had been used primarily in coastal surveillance and sovereignty patrols by providing an all-weather mission surveillance platform. Increasingly as the CP-140 moves into the 21st century it is employed for Domestic and International surveillance by CANCOM  for security, counter-terrorism and smuggling, as well as to monitor foreign fishing fleets off Canada's coasts. CP-140s have also been deployed on operations such as Operation Assistance and Operation Apollo.
In 1991, Lockheed shut down its production lines in Burbank, California for the P-3 Orion, which shares the same airframe with the CP-140. Three surplus airframes were on hand and were purchased by Air Command but delivered without the anti-submarine fit. These three aircraft were designated the CP-140A Arcturus and are used primarily for pilot training and coastal surface patrol missions.
Lacking the expensive, heavy and sensitive anti-submarine warfare as well as the anti-surface warfare fittings of the CP-140 Aurora, the Arcturus is much more fuel efficient and is used for crew training duties (such as touch-and-go landing practice), general maritime surface reconnaissance (detecting drug operations, smuggling of illegal immigrants, fisheries protection patrols, pollution monitoring, etc), search-and-rescue assistance and Arctic sovereignty patrols. The Arcturus does possess a superior AN/APS-507 surface search radar, incorporating modern functions such as track-while-scan that the Aurora's AN/APS-506 radar lacks.
All three aircraft are based at 14 Wing, one of which is currently being used for training with the school on base CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia. The CP-140As were scheduled to be deactivated in 2004, but are still very much in active duty.
The Aurora Incremental Modernization Project, initiated in 1998 to upgrade electronics of the Aurora fleet was halted by the government on 20 September 2007 to evaluate whether it is practical or economical to continue the upgrade due to the age of the Aurora fleet. If a decision is made to replace the Aurora fleet, several aircraft are being considered, including the Boeing P-8 Poseidon and the Bombarier Global Express/R1 Sentinal.
- Canadian Forces Air Command (AIRCOM)
- Crew: Mission minimum 8, typically 12 to 15
- Capacity: 20
- Length: 35.61 m (116 ft 10 in)
- Wingspan: 30.38 m (99 ft 8 in)
- Height: 10.49 m (34 ft 5 in)
- Loaded weight: 27,892 kg (61,362 lb)
- Powerplant: 4× Allison T-56-A-14-LFE turboprop engines, () each
- Maximum speed: 750 km/h (405 kt, 462 mph)
- Range: 9,300 km (5,000 nm, 5,737 mi)
- Service ceiling: 10,700 m (35,100 ft)
- Mk 46 Mod V torpedoes, signal chargers, smoke markers, illumination flares
- air-to-surface missiles or conventional bombs can be fitted after a retrofit.
- Sonobuoys, Radar, Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) suite, Magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), Electronic Support Measures (ESM), fixed 70 mm camera, hand-held digital camera, gyro-stabilized binoculars.
- Winchester, Jim, ed. "Lockheed CP-140 Aurora." Modern Military Aircraft (Aviation Factfile). Rochester, Kent, UK: Grange Books plc, 2004. ISBN 1-84013-640-5.
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