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Lockheed CP-140 Aurora

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A Lockheed CP-140 Aurora of the Royal Canadian Navy Fleet Air Arm in flight on June 16th, 2013.
The Lockheed CP-140 Aurora is a maritime patrol aircraft operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force. The aircraft is based on the Lockheed P-3 Orion airframe, but mounts the electronics suite of the Lockheed S-3 Viking. In Greek mythology, Aurora is the Greek goddess who restored Orion's eyesight, and also the Aurora Borealis are the "northern lights" that are prominent over northern Canada and the Arctic Ocean.

Design and Development[edit]

The CP-140 Aurora is very similar externally to the Lockheed P-3C Orion (Canadian ESM wingtip pods instead of the American ESM wing pod), but is different internally, using two sets of mission systems that were first installed in yet another Lockheed anti-submarine warfare aircraft, the carrier-based S-3A Viking. The aircraft's sensors are primarily intended for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) work but are also capable of maritime surveillance, counter-drug and search-and-rescue missions. The CP-140 is Canada's only strategic Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, conducting long range missions over land, water and littoral areas. These missions are flown in support of Canadian Joint Operations Command, the RCMP, and several other federal government departments.

Aurora Incremental Modernization Program[edit]

The Aurora Incremental Modernization Project (AIMP) was initiated in 1998 to upgrade electronics, engines, etc... of the Aurora fleet. Work included upgrading computer, navigation, communication and radar systems as well as making structural improvements to the aircraft. The intent of the modernization project is to "keep the aircraft safe and operationally viable until 2020.".

AIMP is currently divided into three 'blocks". Block I is complete and concentrated on the replacement of unsupportable systems. Block II brought a glass cockpit with the Navigation and Flight Instruments (NFI) component provided by CMC Electronics, and a complete replacement of the communications suite. Block II is nearing completion and should be complete in early 2011. Block III is a wholesale replacement of the aircraft's sensors and mission computer.

Aurora Structural Life Extension Program[edit]

The Aurora Structural Life Extension Project (ASLEP) is proceeding with the Auroras scheduled to receive new wings and the replacement of key structural components. The complete ASLEP solution replaces the aircrafts' outer wings, center wing lower section and horizontal stabilizers with new production components. All fatigue-life limiting structures on the aircraft are replaced with enhanced-design components and improved corrosion-resistant materials that will greatly reduce maintenance costs over the aircraft's service life. This program is expected to extend the CP-140s' service life by 15,000 flight hours per airframe.

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