Alternative Cold War History 1994

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Patrol Aircraft

Patrol Aircraft

The USN operates three types of patrol aircraft, the primary being ASW patrol (Anti-Submarine Warfare) but also for intelligence gathering and strategic communications. These aircraft are all based on civilian airliners and have long endurance, large crews, very modular equipment which is easy to upgrade but are quiet vulnerable to enemy action. These are valuable aircraft so any loss would have a significant impact and gain high level attention.

P-3 Orion

The US land based ASW fleet consists of only one aircraft type, the Lockheed P-3 Orion. Although it’s used across NATO, the USN is by far the most important operator with 24 ‘Fleet’ squadrons of 9 aircraft each, augmented by 13 Reserve squadrons, two Fleet Replacement squadrons (FRS) and numerous testing, support and special duty units. All told the USN operates about 400 P-3s of various versions. Introduced in 1962, the last of the original P-3As have been retired and all of the P-3Bs have been relegated to reserve and training squadrons, special purpose units or test and evaluation establishments. All 24 regular fleet squadrons as well as 4 of the reserve squadrons fly P-3C, but there are five different upgrade levels of that airframe in the mix. The most modern and capable version are the 37 P-3C Update III and the 121 older aircraft that have been upgraded to that standard (P-3C Update IIIR). Plans exist to bring all of the ‘Update I’ and ‘Update II’ airframes up to the ‘IIIR’ standard, but the ‘Update II.5’ aircraft will take a different path in the late ‘90s. Historically several squadrons were retired between 1991 and 1994 but in Northern Fury this does not happen and therefore 5 reserve squadrons held onto the P-3B longer than in real life.

Sqn Name Location No. Type Remarks
VP-1 Screaming Eagles NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-2 Skinny Dragons NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-5 Mad Foxes NAS Jacksonville, Fla 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-6 Blue Sharks NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii 9 P-3C UII.5
VP-8 Tigers NAS Brunswick, Maine 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-9 Golden Eagles NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-10 Red Lancers NAS Brunswick, Maine 9 P-3C UII.5
VP-11 Pegasus NAS Brunswick, Maine 9 P-3C UII.5
VP-16 War Eagles NAS Jacksonville, Fla 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-17 White Lightning NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii 9 P-3C UIIR
VP-19 Big Red NAS Moffett Field, Calif 9 P-3C UI
VP-22 Blue Geese NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-23 Seahawks NAS Brunswick, Maine 9 P-3C UII
VP-24 Batmen NAS Jacksonville, Fla 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-26 Tridents NAS Brunswick, Maine 9 P-3C UII.5
VP-30 Pro's Nest NAS Jacksonville, Fla 25 Mixed Fleet Replacement Sqn
VP-31 Black Lightning’s NAS Moffett Field, Calif 22 Mixed Fleet Replacement Sqn
VP-40 Fighting Marlins NAS Whidbey Island, Wash 9 P-3C UIII
VP-44 Golden Pelicans NAS Brunswick, Maine 9 P-3C UII
VP-45 Pelicans NAS Jacksonville, Fla 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-46 Grey Knights NAS Whidbey Island, Wash 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-47 Golden Swordsmen NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii 9 P-3C UIII
VP-48 Boomers NAS Moffett Field, Calif 9 P-3C UIII
VP-49 Woodpeckers NAS Jacksonville, Fla. 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-50 Blue Dragons NAS Moffett Field, Calif 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-51 Dragons NAS Jacksonville, Fla. 9 P-3C UIIIR
VP-60 (R) Cobras NAS Glenview, Ill 9 P-3B MOD
VP-62 (R) Broadarrows NAS Jacksonville, Fla. 9 P-3B TAC/NAV Held onto P-3B for NF
VP-64 (R) Condors NAS Willow Grove, Pa 9 P-3C UII
VP-65 (R) Tridents NAS Point Mugu, Calif 9 P-3B MOD Held onto P-3B for NF
VP-66 (R) Liberty Bells NAS Willow Grove, Pa 9 P-3C UI
VP-67 (R) Golden Hawks NAS Memphis, Tenn. 9 P-3B TAC/NAV
VP-68 (R) Blackhawks Andrews AFB, Md 9 P-3B TAC/NAV Held onto P-3B for NF
VP-69 (R) Totems NAS Whidbey Island, Wash 9 P-3C UI
VP-90 (R) The Lions NAS Glenview, Ill. 9 P-3B MOD
VP-91 (R) Black Cats NAS Moffett Field, Calif. 9 P-3B TAC/NAV Held onto P-3B for NF
VP-92 (R) Minutemen NAS Brunswick, Maine 9 P-3C UII
VP-93 (R) Executioners NAF Detroit, Mich. 9 P-3B TAC/NAV
VP-94 (R) Crawfishers NAS New Orleans, La 9 P-3B TAC/NAV Held onto P-3B for NF

EP-3E ARIES & ARIES II

Exclusively focused on ELINT or Electronic Intelligence gathering, two versions of the EP-3E are in service at the start of 1994. All 12 of the original EP-3E ARIES are available, although some are at a reduced state of readiness, these are based on the P-3A and P-3B airframes with all ASW equipment removed and replaced with electronic monitoring systems, two of the 12 had a very interesting life in the CIA and elsewhere before conversion. The EP-3E ARIES II were new build P-3C airframes loaded with more modern and advances equipment and antennae, historically these were delayed due to negotiations with the USAF and Congress, however in Northern Fury production was expedited and 8 of the planed 12 airframes are available. The two squadrons flying this type have a mix of the ARIES and ARIES II airframes and have global responsibilities. The aircraft are routinely deployed to any potential conflict zone or area where interesting electronic intelligence may be available or of use.

Sqn Name Location No. Type Remarks
VQ-1 World Watchers NAS Whidbey Island, Wash 9 EP-3E Mix 2 at Atsugi Japan
VQ-2 Batmen NAS Rota Spain 9 EP-3E Mix 2 at Souda Bay Crete

E-6A Mercury

These Boing 707 based aircraft serve as a survivable command link to the US Ballistic Missile submarines (SSBN) and are the equivalent to the USAFs EC-135C ‘Looking Glass’. Developed under the navy’s TACAMO (take charge and move out) program they have transferred to US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) for direct control of the nuclear missiles, however the USN still operates the aircraft and uses them to relay messages to all submarines, not just the SSBNs. The original production schedule had the last 4 airframes arriving in 1994, this has been accelerated slightly and all but the last aircraft have been received and the 16th will arrive in March 1994.

Sqn Name Location No. Type Remarks
VQ-3 Ironman Tinker AFB 8 E-6A
VQ-4 Shadows Tinker AFB 7 E-6A