The Pakistan Navy on Thursday inducted its first modern maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) dubbed ‘Sea Sultans’ based on an Embraer Lineage 1000 aircraft and equipped with sensors an weapons made by Lenoardo Company.
Thanks to an extra tank of fuel, the Lineage 1000E can fly non-stop for 8,512 km (4,600 nautical miles), about 4,000 km longer than the E190.
A $190 million contract was signed between the Ministry of Defence Production and Leonardo in June, after months of detailed technical discussions and securing internal funds from Pakistan’s Armed Forces Development Plan. Leonardo will fit-in Seaspray 5000E AESA surveillance radar on to Lineage 1000 aircraft making it a potent platform.
A closed tender was launched in November 2020 involving Leonardo, Germany’s Rheinland Air Services, and Turkish Aerospace Industries based on their proven maritime patrol aircraft conversion experience.
Leanardo spokespersons have so far declined to comment on the contract, citing “strict confidentiality agreements.” The contract, however, is expected to involve the design, modification, installation, and integration of anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol package of two aircraft that have yet to be acquired, joining the single Lineage 1000 already in Pakistan.
The Pakistan Navy’s Embraer Lineage 1000 based MPA is expected to serve similar purpose as the U.S. P-8i, a Boeing 737-800 derivative which is in service with India.
The induction ceremony was held in Karachi on Thursday. Speaking on the occasion, Chief of the Naval Staff Amjad Khan Niazi said the aircraft would enhance the PN’s maritime situational awareness.
The aircraft is a variant of Brazilian Embraer Jet aircraft. Two more aircraft of this series have also been contracted by the Pakistan Navy. These aircraft will be equipped with latest weapons and sensors to undertake Maritime Air Operations including anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare.
Earlier, during his welcome address, Commander Pakistan Fleet Rear Admiral Naveed Ashraf highlighted capabilities of the new aircraft and expressed hope that the addition of this potent aircraft will enhance PN capabilities to protect the maritime interests of Pakistan.
Pakistan has hired Leonardo to convert three Embraer Lineage 1000 regional jetliners into Sea Sultan long-range maritime patrol aircraft for its Navy.
The three planes will then be introduced into service as Sea Sultan patrol aircraft. The total number of Sea Sultans is further expected to increase to 10 through further follow-on contracts. They are expected to replace the country’s long-serving P-3C Orion fleet, which the Navy decided in October last year.
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