Only the active P-3 forces flew in support of combat operations in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq because the reserve component was neither equipped nor trained for such operations.
The disparity between active and reserve maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA) capabilities is an outgrowth of the fiscal limitations inherent in the introduction of the P-3 Aircraft Improvement Program (AIP). The active P-3 fleet took the steps necessary to implement the AIP upgrade as best it could. The reserves, instead of biting the bullet and sharing active assets, maintained a policy of operating their own equipment. This decision reflected the reserve's oft-stated intention of maintaining a "distinct identity." The new Fleet Response Plan's requirements, however, demand that MPRA force have one active-reserve identity.