Designed as a long-range anti-submarine patrol plane the Neptune first flew on May 17, 1945 and P2V-1s and -2s entered service with the U. S. Navy in March 1947. Steady technological upgrades and new orders kept the Neptune in production until April 1962. The final production version, the P2V-7 (later P-2H), began coming off the assembly line in 1954 and was the first version built with underwing jet engines. The Neptune was retired from U.S. Navy service by the early 1980s. Many of the aircraft found their way into civilian hands where they were used for fighting forest fires until the last of them were retired in 2017.
Patrol Squadron 94 (VP-94), Naval Air Station New Orleans, Louisiana, 1976
Pima Air & Space Museum