GREENVILLE, S.C., July 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection has received from Lockheed Martin its first mid-life upgrade P-3 Orion patrol aircraft, the company announced.
The upgrade replaced the patrol craft's outer wings, center wing lower surface and horizontal stabilizer with new production components.
"We are excited about our partnership with Customs and Border Protection," said Ray Burick, Lockheed Martin P-3 Programs vice president, "and we are committed to providing them with modernization enhancements to sustain the P-3 for decades to come. The MLU integrates well with our 10-year site and depot P-3 Fleet Maintenance Program, now under way with CBP."
Lockheed Martin said the upgrade 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 upgrades extend the structural service life of the P-3 up to 15,000 hours and adds 20 years of operational use.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will receive up to 14 upgraded P-3s, with deliveries through 2015.