Rome, Italy, 13 December 2016 – Leonardo-Finmeccanica delivered the first two of a total four ATR 72MPs to the Italian Air Force. Designated P-72A by the Italian Air Force, the new maritime patrol aircraft will replace the Air Force’s last Breguet 1150 Atlantic patrol aircraft which have been in service for some four decades in Italy.
Mauro Moretti, Leonardo’s Chief Executive Officer and General Manager said: “Security and environmental protection are both vitally important to our country’s economy. As well as international trade passing through our coastal territory, we need to remain vigilant to illegal trafficking and migration flows. Therefore, in order to protect our economic strength and national security we have provided the ATR 72MP, which comes equipped with Leonardo’s latest security and surveillance systems.”
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 P-72A, developed and produced by Leonardo using the latest variant of the standard ATR 72-600 turboprop as a base, 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 P-72A is fitted with Leonardo’s latest security and surveillance systems and it may also be used in the event of environmental catastrophes as well as for the prevention of narcotics trafficking, piracy and smuggling.
The P-72A’s mission system is the last version of Leonardo’s Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance (ATOS). The aircraft is being provided 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, to ensure coordinated and effective operations. It is also equipped with an extended self-protection system, fully integrated with the airplane’s mission system and avionics.
The P-72A will be able to fly missions lasting six and a half hours at ranges up to 200 nautical miles from its starting location, and thus cover all of the central Mediterranean area. The new aircraft will take over the current missions of the 88° Gruppo A/S with the 41° Stormo in Sigonella, Sicily, with the last legacy Breguet 1150 Atlantics. A total of 87 Atlantics was built under a Nato multinational programme launched in 1958, SECBAT which associated France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The Italian Air Force received 18 of them.