GREENVILLE, S.C. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s Office of Air and Marine (OAM) announced the completion of its 12th P-3 Orion aircraft overhaul March 18, 2015. This is the ninth consecutive delivery ahead of schedule for OAM’s Service Life Extension Program (SLEP).
The SLEP provides new wings and tail for each aircraft and completely strips down the aircrafts to its bare metal for an inspection. The final step in the process is a new paint job.
“This is a significant milestone for the program,” said Trevor Blow, director of the P-3 Program Management Office. “The P-3 Long-Range Tracker is in high demand with our operators and partners. This latest aircraft will provide years of reliable service to CBP and our mission partners.”
The aircraft will be based out of Jacksonville, Fla. Two more aircraft will be overhauled before the program’s end, on track for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016.
The P-3’s distinctive 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 almost 14 times the size of the continental United States, P-3 aircrews detect, monitor, and disrupt smuggling activities before they reach shore.
OAM 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 more than 41 nations, the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and seaboard approaches to the United States.
In FY 2014, OAM’s P-3 crews operating out of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Jacksonville, flew more than 5,900 hours in support of counter-narcotics missions, resulting in 135 interdiction events of suspected smuggling vessels and aircraft. These events led to the total seizure or disruption of 126,489 pounds of cocaine with an estimated value of $9.47 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.