Company hopes Malaysia will replace Beechcraft B200T fleet with ATR 72MP
ITALIAN company Leonardo is offering its ATR 72MP maritime patrol aircraft to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). It is understood that the aircraft is being offered to the RMAF as a replacement for its ageing fleet of Beechcraft B200T maritime surveillance planes.
The New Straits Times was told that an Italian Air Force ATR 72MP aircraft was flown out of Italy to participate in the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima) 2017 with the primary mission of showcasing it to RMAF.
Its secondary mission was to show it to other delegations.
It is understood that the variant that would be offered to RMAF would come with anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
If the name ATR 72 seemed familiar, it would for those who took Firefly and Malindo flights from or to Subang Airport.
Both carriers use the ATR 72, and the 72MP was based on the 72-600.
In a statement, Leonardo said the aircraft was on its first “mission” abroad.
The company said the ATR 72MP could perform roles, such as maritime patrol, search and identification of surface vessels, command, control and communication, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and search and rescue.
It could also be used for prevention of narcotics trafficking, piracy and smuggling, territorial water security, and monitoring and intervention in the event of environmental catastrophes.
Leonardo said there were more significant export opportunities for the aircraft in Malaysia due to its low cost of operation, ease of maintenance and exceptional versatility in a number of maritime roles.
“The ATR 72MP is equipped with Leonardo’s ATOS mission system, which uses an advanced data fusion technique to present a tactical picture to the operator that integrates information from the aircraft’s on-board sensors.
“One key sensor on the ATR 72MP is Leonardo’s Seaspray Active Electronically Scanned Array surveillance radar, which provides a powerful surveillance capability with a range of modes.”
The aircraft, which can fly missions lasting up to 19 hours, also uses the latest communication systems, which can transmit or receive information in real time to and from the command and control centres, either on the ground, in the air or at sea, to ensure coordinated and effective operations.
It is also equipped with a self-protection system, which is fully integrated with the ATR 72MP’s mission system and avionics.
During Lima 2017, the patrol aircraft and its crew would be available to delegations and guests for hosted briefings and visits.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2017 yesterday. In the background is a Leonardo ATR 72MP aircraft.