Lothar Eckardt and Rick High of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are the first briefing after lunch.
U.S. CBP P-3s operate out of Jacksonville, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas.
They showed a great video about the record-breaking fiscal year 2009. That year, CBP interdicted more than 250,000 pounds of narcotics - their best year ever. This includes seizing 29 vessels, 102,000 pounds of cocaine, 106 suspects and $12.4 million in cash. CBP P-3s were also the FEMA first responder to Hurricane Ike.
In the 2010 fiscal year, CBP disrupted and seized more than 197,000 pounds of narcotics. Their primary accomplishment in 2010 was increased availability, with 6 aircraft each on the ramps in Jacksonville and Corpus Christi. This allowed CBP to surpass flight hour requirements and achieve the most flight hours Jacksonville has ever achieved in a single year.
CBP P-3s are uniquely able to locate self-propelled semi-submersibles (SPSS), which are 60-85 feet long and difficult to find. Eckardt mentioned that the next threat will be self-propelled fully submersibles, although CBP has not found one yet.
CBP recently received its first re-winged aircraft from Lockheed Martin, which High said flies like a brand new aircraft. CBP plans to re-wing 14 of its 16 airplanes, allowing for 20 more years of operation.
Because of the relatively small P-3 fleet, CBP prefers to work with other operators to conduct joint projects that will help both operators save money. They are currently discussing full-motion video capability and cockpit upgrade projects with other operators and are open to other ideas.