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NAS JAX to mark final deployment of P-3C Orion

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The local naval aviation community is gearing up for a historic day.

On Thursday morning, the last remaining P-3C Orion squadron on the East Coast will deploy for the final time.

The United States Navy is phasing out the aircraft.

Naval Air Station Jacksonville has been home to the P-3C Orion since the Cold War era of the 1960s.

People on the First Coast might recognize it by its four propellers. It's often seen flying over the city.

Orion's primary function is to track submarines, but it also completes electronic surveillance and combat missions.

Most recently, the aircraft has been involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and the global fight against Isis.

When the local sailors return, they will upgrade to a new aircraft called the P-8A Poseidon. That transition means there will no longer be any active Orion squadrons on the East Coast.

However, the aircraft is still currently used by six naval squadrons on the West Coast.

The Thunderbirds fly over 16th Street in Ocean City during the Ocean City Air Show on Saturday, June 18.
The Thunderbirds fly over 16th Street in Ocean City during the Ocean City Air Show on Saturday, June 18.
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