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Johnsons N52UL CF2C-7 Supra Stressflight_AV

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Lockheed P-2 Neptune


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P-2 (P2V) Neptune
SP-2H of VP-56 over the Atlantic.
RoleMaritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare
National originUnited States
ManufacturerLockheed
First flight17 May 1945
IntroductionMarch 1947
Retired1984 from military use
Primary usersUnited States Navy
Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
Number built1,177 (total) [1]
VariantsKawasaki P-2J
The Lockheed P-2 Neptune (designated P2V by the United States Navy prior to September 1962) was a maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft. It was developed for the US Navy by Lockheed to replace the Lockheed PV-1 Ventura and PV-2 Harpoon, and was replaced in turn by the Lockheed P-3 Orion. Designed as a land-based aircraft, the Neptune never made a carrier landing, but a small number were converted and deployed as carrier-launched, stop-gap nuclear bombers that would have to land on shore or ditch. The type was successful in export, and saw service with several armed forces.
Contents
Design and development


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.[2] 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 prototype XP2Vs, which was confirmed by a formal contract on 4 April 1944 with a further 15 aircraft being ordered 10 days later.[3] It was not until 1944 that the program went into full swing.[4] 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 1945. Production began in 1946, and the aircraft was accepted into service in 1947. Potential use as a bomber led to successful launches from aircraft carriers.[5]

Beginning with the P2V-5F model, the Neptune became one of the first operational aircraft 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 weight and complexity of two separate fuel systems, the Westinghouse J34 jet engines on P2Vs burned the 115–145 Avgas fuel of the piston engines, instead of jet fuel. The jet pods were fitted with intake doors that remained closed when the J-34s were not running. This prevented windmilling, allowing for economical piston-engine-only long-endurance search and patrol operations. In normal US Navy operations, the jet engines were run at full power (97%) to assure takeoff, then shut down upon reaching a safe altitude. The jets were also started and kept running at flight idle during low-altitude (500-foot (150 m) during the day and 1,000-foot (300 m) at night) anti-submarine and/or anti-shipping operations as a safety measure should one of the radials develop 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
Early Cold War


Emerson nose turret from the Neptune at the National 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 .5 in (12.70 mm) 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 US 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 Air 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,[6] while the last Naval Reserve patrol squadron to operate the Neptune, VP-94, retired its last SP-2H in 1978.

Nuclear bomber


A P2V takes off from USS Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1951

At the end of World War II, the US 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. The large Fat Man nuclear munitions at that time were bulky and required a very large aircraft to carry them. The US Navy Bureau of Ordnance built 25 outdated but more compact Little Boy nuclear bomb designs to be used in the smaller bomb bay of the P2V Neptune. There was enough fissionable material available by 1948 to build ten complete uranium projectiles and targets, although there were only enough initiators to complete six.[7][8] 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 US Navy was adopting fully jet powered nuclear strike aircraft.[9]

Covert operations P2V-7U/RB-69A variants


Side view of RB-69A, the first converted P2V-7U

In 1954 under Project Cherry, the US 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 US 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 US 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; these were painted in ROCAF markings. The ROCAF 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 US and Republic of China (ROC) governments meant the RB-69A would be manned by ROCAF 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 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 US Navy P2V-7/SP-2H ASW aircraft configurations.[10][11] Most of the 34th Squadron's Black Op missions remain classified by the CIA—though 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 34th Squadron's Black Op missions is known to exist. The CIA does not plan to declassify it until after 2022.[12]

Vietnam War


OP-2E Neptune formerly of VO-67, in AMARC storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, c. 1971. The camouflage is green for low level operations over Vietnam.

During the Vietnam War, the Neptune was used by the US Navy as a gunship, as an overland reconnaissance and sensor deployment aircraft, and in its traditional role as a maritime patrol aircraft. The Neptune was also utilized by the US Army's 1st Radio Research Company (Aviation), call sign "Crazy Cat", based at Cam Ranh Air Base in South Vietnam, as an electronic "ferret" aircraft intercepting low-powered tactical voice and morse code radio signals.[13] The US Army operated the P-2 from 1967[13] until 1972, flying 42,500 hours with no accidents.[14] 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.[15] 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 Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) secret 34th Black Bat Squadron's RB-69A/P2V-7U ELINT/SIGINT aircraft flew a low level electronic reconnaissance from Da Nang Air Base, flying over Thanh Hóa Province on 20 August 1963 to investigate an air resupply drop zone that turned out to be a trap for a 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.

This airplane used by Johnson's Stress Flight FPV-180lt-200 Name is "Lockheed CF2C-7 Supra" Registration N52UL 3 Blade.

Engine Producted by EICTPLE (Engine Internal Combustion Turboprop Limited Edition).

For Realflight RF7.5 RF8 RF9.5 And RF-X Simulator RC.

Enjoy. (y) 👏✈

This variant requires:

P2V-7 Neptune_EA
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