Sun, Aug 28, 2011
Aircraft Fly Primarily Drug Interdiction Missions
A third P-3 Orion with a new Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) kit was
delivered recently to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) by
Lockheed Martin. This P-3 Orion joins the two similar aircraft that
CBP is currently operating to support its critical homeland
security missions. Lockheed Martin delivered the first CBP MLU P-3
in July 2010 and the second airplane in April 2011. From October
2010 to April 2011, CBP used P-3 Orions to stop more than 117,000
pounds of drugs worth more than $1.5 billion from entering the
United States. To date, the amount of cocaine seized by CBP crews
equals about $240,000 for every hour the P-3 flies.
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection missions are essential in
strengthening our nation's safety," said Ray Burick, Lockheed
Martin P-3 Programs and Greenville Operations vice president.
"Lockheed Martin is committed to partnering with the U.S. Customs
and Border Protection team to provide affordable enhancements that
will keep its P-3 Orion fleet operating at optimal performance
levels for decades to come."
The MLU replaces all fatigue-life-limiting structures with
enhanced-design components and incorporates a new metal alloy that
is five times more corrosion resistant than the original material,
greatly reducing the cost of ownership for P-3 operators. The MLU
is the operationally proven solution that removes current aircraft
flight restrictions and extends the structural service life of the
P-3 up to 15,000 hours, adding more than 20 years of operational
CBP is under contract with Lockheed Martin to deliver 14 of its
16 P-3 Orions outfitted with MLU kits. Deliveries will occur
through 2015. To date, Lockheed Martin has 71 MLU kits under
contract with six operators from four nations.
P-3 Orion is the standard for maritime patrol and
reconnaissance, and is used for homeland security, hurricane
reconnaissance, anti-piracy operations, humanitarian relief, search
and rescue, intelligence gathering, antisubmarine warfare and,
recently, to assist in air traffic control and data gathering over
the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
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