Air International 2022-05
J.Campion - Lobos on patrol
Although a now ageing design, the P-3 maritime patrol platform has been through a range of upgrade programmes throughout its service life in militaries all over the world
The Portuguese Air Force utilises its P-3 CUP+ fleet
The integration of new systems and capabilities in the CUP+ variant necessitated additional training for operators
Being such a diverse aircraft, the P-3C was built with 18 armament stations to be loaded, five stations on each wing and eight in the bomb bay
Portugal’s maritime patrol aircraft fleet is based at Beja Air Force Base in the south of the country, having earlier been located at Montijo
A typical crew consists of five officers and eight enlisted personnel, operating ten stations, each with distinctive tasks (three stations shown here)
Inside the fuselage of the aircraft are sonobuoy launch tubes, used to deploy the sonar detection devices to hunt for the prime target of the P-3C - enemy submarines
Various sonobuoys are stored in racks, with different variants used depending on missions and environmental conditions. The systems are militarily sensitive, so data is classified