Leonardo-Finmeccanica delivered the first two of a total of four ATR 72MP multirole maritime patrol aircraft to the Italian Air Force on 13th December. The aircraft, which has the military designation P-72A, will replace the Air Force’s Breguet Atlantic.
The latest version of the contract, signed in 2014, envisages the delivery of logistic support services, in addition to the supply of four ATR 72MP platforms, which will be completed by 2017.
The aircraft, developed and produced by Leonardo based on the ATR 72-600 regional turboprop, can act in a number of roles including maritime patrol for the search and identification of surface vessels, SAR (search and rescue) missions, the prevention of narcotics trafficking, piracy, smuggling, territorial water security and monitoring and intervention in the event of environmental catastrophes.
The ATR 72MPs will be equipped with the latest communication systems, able to transmit or receive information in real time to/from command and control centres either on the ground, in the air or at-sea. The aircraft will also be equipped with a self-protection system, fully integrated with the ATR 7MP’s mission system and avionics.
The aircraft will be able to fly missions lasting six and a half hours at ranges up to 200 nautical miles.
Leonardo describes the ATR 72MP as a multirole Maritime Patrol, Electronic Surveillance and C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) aircraft, available at a very affordable price.
The aircraft shares many solutions which were developed for the ATR 72ASW for the Turkish Navy. With the MP version, the systems specifically designed for the Anti-Submarine Warfare variant have been replaced by a complete C4I systems suite incorporating multidatalink fully integrating Link 16 and Link11, Satcom Ku/Ka, VORTEX, VMF and Radar Classifier, in addition to ESM ELINT (Electronic Surveillance Measures – ELectronic INTelligence) capabilities.
The aircraft’s mission system, provided with four operator stations with high-definition 22” monitors and touch-screen control panels, is the latest version of Leonardo’s Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance (ATOS) mission system. The aircraft has been designed with provisions to allow for future integration of additional sensors and components, which are mission-specific for Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) missions.
The mission system integrates three main sensors, the Star Safire HD electro-optical turret; the Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems’ Seaspray 7300 electronically-scanned array (AESA) surveillance radar and a self-protection suite based on Elettronica’s ELT800V2 ESM.
The Self-Protection System suite, derived from the one that equips the C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter, includes chaff & flare dispensers (CFD), missile and laser warning systems (MWS and LWS)) and a new RWR/ESM with ELINT and geolocalisation capabilities.