RAAF Orion to join HARS collection

A RAAF AP-3C flies in formation with the HARS Neptune. (Defence)

The Historical Aviation Restoration Society (HARS) is to be gifted an ex-RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion, Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies is to announce on Friday.

The Orion will join a HARS collection of more than 20 former RAAF aircraft, including examples of earlier RAAF maritime patrol aircraft including the PBY Catalina and SP-2H Neptune.

While the Orion is still in service, and has joined overseas operations as well as the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the fleet is progressively being replaced by the Boeing P-8A Poseidon.

The federal government has ordered 12 P-8As with a likely top-up order expected to take the fleet to 15. The first P-8A arrived in Australia in November 2016.

Members of the public are invited to attend the handover ceremony, which begins at 1100 at HARS’s Illawarra Regional Airport site.

HARS’s Catalina and Neptune during a November 2016 photoshoot with a RAAF AP-3C and the service’s first P-8A. (Defence)


  1. Craigy says

    @Jasonp Exactly. Surely one of the P3K will be donated to the museum as they are retired from service in the years to come.

    It would be good to see one at the RAAF Museum in Point Cook at some point in the not too distant future.

  2. Mick181 says

    Bill, hopefully they will have some ex RNZAF Orions in the next 4-5 years if NZ buy the Poseidons they have already asked the US Congress to pass for sale.

  3. Zarg says

    As the Queensland Air Museum (QAM) already has a Lockheed Ventura and Lockheed Neptune in residence, it would be nice to complete the Lockheed trio with a P3 Orion!
    (RAAF and Lockheed Martin please note!!)

  4. PAUL says

    Awesome line up ! Yes long live the Orion … will surely miss the sound of those T56’s for just another Turbofan, bit like Electric cars & V8’s

  5. Ross Smith says

    Be great to have a Lockheed Hudson and even a Consolidated Liberator (both flown by RAAF personnel as maritime patrol aircraft in WW2) added to the HARS exhibits if it were possible. Or if not at HARS, at the Point Cook museum.

  6. PAUL says

    Paul – Yes indeed – Question is will there be an airworthy version kept to fly alongside Neptune & Catalina?..

  7. Josh James says

    Love to see one fly as a tribute to all the unsung and unseen work it’s done. Question is will it be allowed? From memory there was some legal matter that prevented an airworthy F-111 being maintained in Oz. Believe it was to do with US Dept of Defence.

    QAM will hopefully be expanding soon. Brilliant to see an Orion with the DC-4.they’re getting from South Africa

  8. says

    Josh James, it would of been too expensive to keep one pig flying. They would of scrapped the tooling and everything else after its retirement. Yes it would of been great but that’s life. Cheers.

  9. says

    I would think the former Qantas and RAAF 707-338C ex A20-629 still flying with Omega Tankers would be one aircraft marked for future preservation with its long service history albeit in static display condition. Perhaps another opportunity not to be missed as we already have the 707-138 model preserved at Longreach and other bound for HARS via John Travolta.

  10. says

    the Orion would look wonderful repainted in the Grey/white scheme of the 60’/70 era with the two main squadrons displayed e.g 10 squadron on the port fuselage and 11 squadron on the starboard as they have done with the f-111 aircraft displayed with 1 and 6 squadron markings

  11. Jasonp says

    The HARS P-3 has been parked at WOL since it was retired earlier this year, but approval from the US State Dept for the RAAF to release the aircraft to HARS only came through recently. I believe it will kept in flying condition.

  12. Dave N says

    Since HARS is building an extensive collection of former RAAF aircraft,what are the chances of an C130H being added to complement the caribou.I know I’m dreaming know but it would also be great to add a nomad and porter in flying condition.

  13. Mick181 says

    At a guess i would say there is a fair amount of mission specific equipment that would have been removed before any clearance went througn, it would be a bare bones aircraft only..