Leonardo is exhibiting a P-72A (company designation ATR-72MPA) maritime patrol aircraft at LIMA 17, where the type is making its public debut, Alan Warnes reports. The aircraft is one of three that have now been delivered to the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare)’s 41° Stormo based at Sigonella, Sicily.
The Malaysian Government has a requirement for a maritime surveillance aircraft and the Prime Minister had a look around the aircraft immediately after the opening ceremony this morning.
The Aeronautica Militare received its first two examples of the P-72A on December 13. Based on the ATR-72-600 regional turboprop, the P-72A will replace the Breguet P-1150A Atlantic in Italian Air Force service. A total of four P-72As are on order under the terms of a 2014 contract that also includes logistic support services. Final deliveries are due to be completed in 2017.
Equipped with the Leonardo Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance (ATOS) mission system, the P-72A will be used for missions including maritime patrol, search and identification of surface vessels, search and rescue (SAR), counter-narcotics trafficking, anti-piracy, prevention of smuggling, territorial water security and monitoring and intervention in the event of environmental catastrophes.