In February 2007, the Government of Norway announced a contract with Lockheed Martin to build new production service life extension kits for 6 Royal Norwegian Air Force P-3C/N Orion long-range maritime patrol aircraft, and offer engineering and other support. It’s estimated that the SLEP (Service Life Extension Program) will add more than 15,000 flying hours to each aircraft, representing 20-25 additional years of service covering NATO operations and Norway’s large over-water economic exclusion zone (EEZ). Lockheed Martin adds that the repairs will lift flying restrictions currently imposed on the global P-3 Orion fleet, due to aging problems.
In order to accomplish these goals, the program aims to replace all “fatigue life limiting” structures with enhanced design components and improved, corrosion resistant materials. The Norwegian life extension kit draws on the November 2005 re-opening of the P-3 wing production line. Replacements will include the outer wings, center wing lower surface, horizontal stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer leading edges, and nacelle components.