A Royal Australian Air Force Orion has been scrapped and two more are scheduled for disposal by the end of 2014, Defence has confirmed.
The first aircraft, A9-663, which was the only aircraft in the RAAF’s 19-strong Orion fleet not upgraded under the AP-3C program, was scrapped on October 20. All 19 Orions are due to be progressively drawn-down through to June 2019.
“The first stage of the disposal activity is the reduction of the fleet from 19 to 16 aircraft,” a spokesperson for Defence told Australian Aviation. “The retired aircraft provided best value to Defence by being stripped of all useable items as spares…once all of the useable items have been removed, the retired airframes are being reduced to scrap metal by [a South Australian] company. These three aircraft were assessed to have very limited heritage value; future disposal stages will provide for preservation of aircraft with high heritage value.”
The Orion’s maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability is scheduled to be replaced by a mix of manned P-8A Poseidons and unmanned Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Tritons under the AIR 7000 program.