Leonardo Delivers ATR 72 Maritime Patrollers to Italy

 - December 20, 2016, 6:06 AM
The first two of four ATR 72MP aircraft have been delivered to the Italian air force. (Photo: Leonardo)

Leonardo has delivered the first two of four ATR 72MP aircraft for the Italian air force. Designated P-72A by the military, they are replacing obsolete Breguet Atlantic maritime patrol aircraft. They are based on the ATR72-600 twin turboprop regional airliners produced by European airframer ATR, in which Leonardo is a joint venture partner with Airbus.

According to the manufacturer, the ATR 72MP is a multirole maritime patrol, electronic surveillance and C4I aircraft that is available “at a very affordable price.” Leonardo has integrated three main sensors: the company’s own Seaspray 7300 AESA surveillance radar; a FLIR Systems Star Safire high-definition (HD) EO video turret; and an Elettronica ELT800V2 ESM system. The last includes a self-protection suite derived from that found on Leonardo’s C-27J Spartan airlifter, including chaff and flare dispensers, missile and laser warning systems. 

The aircraft carries the Leonardo Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance (ATOS) mission system. This consists of four operator stations with HD 22-inch monitors and touchscreen control panels that are fully integrated with the militarized ATR-600 glass cockpit, including AIS, TACAN, IFF, GPS/INS and radio/satellite communications management system. 

The ATR 72MP has been designed to allow the future integration of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) sensors and weapons. Of note, Leonardo has developed an armed ATR 72ASW variant for the Turkish Navy, in cooperation with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). TAI is completing six of these in Ankara, with deliveries due next year. 

The Turkish ATR 72ASW version has the Thales Airborne Maritime Situation And Control System (AMASCOS) rather than Leonardo’s ATOS mission system. The original Italian requirement for a Breguet Atlantic replacement called for ASW and ASuW capability, using AMASCOS, with deliveries starting in 2012. But the contract with Leonardo was renegotiated in 2014, to the configuration that is now being delivered.