Lockheed CP-140 AURORA
The CP-140 Aurora is a four-engine turboprop, long range maritime patrol aircraft built for the Canadian Forces by Lockheed Corporation. The aircraft type entered service in 1980 to replace the Canadair Argus.
The Aurora is a successful marriage of the Lockheed P-3 Orion airframe with then modern avionics similar to the S-3 Viking carrier-borne aircraft. The aircraft's sensors are primarily intended for ASW work but are also capable of maritime surveillance, counter-drug and search and rescue missions.
The P-3 airframe is a variant of the much older Lockheed Electra airliner originally proposed to the United States Navy as a patrol bomber in 1957. In 1976, the Aurora variant won the Canadian Long-Range Patrol Aircraft competition to replace the Argus and 18 aircraft were delivered commencing in 1980. A further three aircraft with significantly different mission avionics were acquired in the early 1990s for non-ASW roles. These later variants were named "Arcturus" in CF service.
The P-3 airframe currently forms the maritime patrol "backbone" for many nations including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Norway, Spain, and Portugal among others.
Lockheed CP-140 Aurora in its current low-vis scheme. (CF Photo)