The C-130 has proven itself eminently capable of landing on a carrier.

When the S-2 Viking was retired, the Navy didn't really have a good replacement for anti-submarine ops - but anti-sub warfare had also fallen in importance.

Suppose there is a resurgence in need. The Navy has an excellent ASW aircraft in its inventory; the P-3 Orion (modded L-188 Elektra). It's not made for carrier operations, but then, neither was the C-130.

Suppose we sort out the smaller details, like making sure the P-3 can refuel from carrier-based aircraft like the F-18 (and thus can take off and immediately tank). This must be a rolling-on-tires operation; cat launch or tailhook recovery is out of the question.

If the captain can guarantee 35 knot headwind, could the Orion do a "rolling on pavement" takeoff and landing off the carrier? If needed, it can use the whole deck, obviously it would work better operationally if it could use the diagonal strip.

  • $\begingroup$ Did the C-130 carry any meaningful load when flying off the deck? Even if the P-3 was capable of doing this, the question is can it do so and carry a mission load (except fuel), right? $\endgroup$ Sep 2, 2018 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ Good point, it may not need a full mission load if it can just radio the carrier and have another aircrafft bring a torpedo. Still needs sonobuoys... $\endgroup$ Sep 2, 2018 at 21:11
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    $\begingroup$ P3 is deprecated for the P8, and local ASW operations went to helicopters. I am a former P3 crew member and a cat launch in a P3 is not something I signed up for. $\endgroup$
    – guycole
    Sep 3, 2018 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @guycole Thank you for your service. Edited to clarify "no cat". Any idea what the weight of the P-3 is, full sensor/sonobuoy load, zero fuel, zero weapons? $\endgroup$ Sep 3, 2018 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Harper Sorry, I don't know what the ASW aircraft weigh. I flew w/VQ in EP3 and we were notoriously heavy. Sorry, I cannot be more specific than "notorious". $\endgroup$
    – guycole
    Sep 3, 2018 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


Well, going beyond just judging from the Electra's itty bitty stubby wings, digging around for Electra performance data I found a page that gives a takeoff distance of 1290 meters, or 4200 feet, which would most likely be the distance at sea level, standard day, max gross. Which is what I would expect with such itty bitty stubby wings.

Even allowing for more power in the military versions, I'd say it's safe to go with no.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 1290 meters could be reduced with JATO bottles though. As was done with C-130s for example. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Sep 3, 2018 at 4:52
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    $\begingroup$ But you would want something that can take off in under 2000 ft in the first place, like the Herc. However, stick on enough JATO bottles and you can launch the carrier itself in the air! $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Sep 3, 2018 at 12:48
  • $\begingroup$ Add foldable wings and the weight that comes with them, arresting gear, ... $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Sep 4, 2018 at 21:49

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