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Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft Upgrade For US Border Protection

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Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
: 21 December, 2010  (Application Story)
The USA has ordered upgrade kits for its fleet of P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft from Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin has recently received an order for two additional P-3 Orion Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) kits from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The order brings the total number of CBP P-3s on contract to receive the MLU to 11 with an option for five additional kits in 2011.

'This award reinforces CBP's support of our proven, cost-effective solution for providing the P-3 fleet with 20-plus years of added operational capability,' said Ray Burick, Lockheed Martin P-3 Programs and Greenville Operations vice president. 'CBP has been a forward thinking partner in our MLU program, and we look forward to strengthening this relationship.'

CBP will receive up to 16 upgraded P-3s for deliveries planned through 2015. It received the first fully upgraded P-3 Orion in July 2010.

The new order brings the total program to 56 kits, including orders from CBP, the US Navy and international customers.

Lockheed Martin's P-3 MLU program provides a technically proven, low-risk, cost-effective solution for replacing the aircraft's outer wings, centre wing lower surface and horizontal stabilizer with new production components.

The MLU replaces all fatigue-life-limiting structure with enhanced-design components and incorporates a new metal alloy that is five times more corrosion resistant, greatly reducing the cost of ownership for P-3 operators. The MLU solution removes current aircraft flight restrictions and extends the structural service life of the P-3 up to 15,000 hours, adding about 20 years of operational use.

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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