Greenville, S.C. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine, announced it has received its 11th and final Lockheed Martin P-3 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft overhaul.
The Service Life Extension Program provides new wings and tail for each aircraft and completely strips down the aircraft to its bare metal for an inspection. The final step in the process is a new paint job. With the overhaul of this aircraft, the program completed its eighth consecutive delivery ahead of schedule. Three additional aircraft will be overhauled before the program is finished, which is on track for fiscal year 2016.
"This is a significant milestone for the program. It is the last re-winged AEW with its distinctive radar dome to be delivered to CBP. Subsequent P-3 deliveries will all be P-3 Long-Range Tracker versions,” said Trevor Blow, director of the P-3 Program Management Office. “This latest aircraft will provide years of reliable service to CBP and our mission partners.”
The P-3s’ distinctive detection capabilities allow highly-trained crews to identify threats well beyond the land borders of the United States. By providing surveillance of known air, land and maritime smuggling routes in an area that is almost 14 times the size of the continental United States, the P-3s detect, monitor and disrupt smuggling activities before they reach our shores.
CBP OAM P-3s have been an integral part of the successful counter-narcotic missions operating in coordination with the Joint Interagency Task Force - South. The P-3s patrol in a 42 million-square mile area known as the Source and Transit Zone, which includes more than 41 nations, the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and seaboard approaches to the United States.
In Fiscal Year 2014, CBP’s P-3s operating out of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida, flew more than 5,900 hours in support of counternarcotic missions and detected 149 suspected smuggling vessels and aircraft. This resulted in the seizure or disruption of 112,224 pounds of cocaine worth nearly $8.4 billion.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.