The P-3 was designed for Anti-Submarine Warfare, but it has become much more versatile. The P-3 now supports anti-piracy, anti-terrorism, homeland security and drug interdiction missions and still has a critical role in reconnaissance.
Lockheed Martin offers the MLU as the solution to enable P-3 operations for the next 20-25 years. Currently 4 countries (5 operators) are contracted for MLU: Norway, Taiwan, Canada, U.S. Navy and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The MLU kit includes new production outer wings, horizontal stabilizers leading edges and center wing lower surfaces. MLU replaces all fatigue-life limiting structures on the aircraft with new, corrosion resistant components to reduce cost of ownership over the aircraft service life.
The program of record is 54 MLU kits, and there are opportunities for many more MLU kits in the worldwide P-3 fleet. The updated CBP aircraft achieved first flight in July of 2010. Early next year, more MLU aircraft will be back in operation.