GREENVILLE, S.C. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) today announced the completion of its 14th and final planned P-3 Orion aircraft overhaul.
The overhaul was completed Aug. 23.
The Service Life Extension Plan (SLEP) overhaul began immediately following a 2006 detailed analysis of the aging history of the P-3 fleet. The results of the analysis indicated the Long Range Tracker (LRT) had less than eight years of remaining service life and the Airborne Early Warning had less than three years. SLEP 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 for this Jacksonville, Florida or Corpus Christi, Texas based aircraft.
In addition to the SLEP, this P-3 LRT aircraft underwent extensive modifications after it was retrieved from desert storage just a few short years ago. The former U.S. Navy mission systems were replaced with AMO’s state of the art law enforcement configuration. “AMO has provided a new lease on life for this aircraft that was sitting in the desert, just three years ago.” said Mike Toner, Designated Agency Representative at the Greenville, South Carolina Depot. “I flew the “desert aircraft” from Tucson, Arizona to Greenville. It’s great to see her flying in CBP colors now and ready to serve for years to come.”
The P-3s’ specialized detection capabilities allow highly-trained crews to identify emerging 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, P-3 aircrews detect, monitor, and disrupt smuggling activities before they reach shore.
AMO P-3s have been an integral part of the successful counter-narcotic missions operating in coordination with the Joint Interagency Task Force South. P-3 aircrews patrol a 42 million-square mile area which includes the Source and Transit Zone, more than 41 nations, the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and seaboard approaches to the United States.
In Fiscal Year 2015, AMO’s aircrews contributed to 198 seizure, disruption, or interdiction events in the transit zone, resulting in the interdiction of 206,500 pounds of cocaine.
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.