The Lockheed Model 726, the P2V-7, was the final Neptune variant off the Lockheed production line. First flown on April 26, 1954, Model 726-45-14 was powered by a pair of 3,700hp (with water injection) Wright R-3350-32W Turbo Compound engines and a pair of Westinghouse J-34-WE-36 turbo jet engines. This model had a top dash speed of 364mph making it the fastest of the Lockheed produced Neptunes. The APS-20 search radar with its larger radome was mounted further forward than that on the earlier P2V-5s. The P2V-7 could carry an ordnance load of 10,000 lbs. in a larger weapons bay. The flight deck was raised and a redesigned canopy provided improved visibility. The smaller wing tip tanks of the later P2V-5s were also fitted. An aircrew of nine was carried.

Some early production P2V-7s were equipped with the Aero 9B nose turret and tail turret. These aircraft were later modified with the observer nose and MAD tail. Towards the end of the production run, the dorsal turret was replaced with a skylight observation window.

A total of 287* Neptunes, including forty-eight assembled in Japan by Kawasaki at Gifu, were built under the P2V-7 designation as Model 726-45-14s (148 aircraft for the US Navy, Aéronavale and Japan.) Model 726-45-17s (114 aircraft, with revised accommodation, for the same customers and the RAAF), Model 826-45-14 (25 aircraft for the RCAF, delivered without the under-wing J-34s). The P2V-7B (Model 726-45-18) designation was given to 15 aircraft built for the MLD. Neptune production ended in 1962.

By the 1970s, P-2s had been phased out from all Fleet Patrol Squadrons remaining in service with only twelve Reserve Patrol Squadrons. In April 1978, VP-94 transitioned to the P-3 Orion ending 31 years of P2V Neptune operations with the US Navy.

P2V-7 Neptunes served with the military forces of Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Japan and The Netherlands.

*This total does not include the 4 P2V-7LP/LP-2J and 5 RB-69As


AP-2H Neptune Gunships of VAH-21
LP-2J Ski Birds of VX-6
RB-69A and P2V-7U ELINT Neptunes

"In the Shade of the Wing"
Ron Wheeler VP-23 1955-1958