Malaysia recently announced via Twitter that Leonardo will soon receive an order for two ATR 72MPs to reinforce and above all modernize Malaysia's maritime patrol capabilities. The purchase of three UAVs from Turkish Aerospace Industries should also be added.
A strategic strait to control
Malaysia is at an important maritime crossroads since a large part of maritime traffic passes through the Strait of Malacca to or from China, Korea and Japan. It is therefore an important economic resource for the country which must therefore secure it. This is all the more important as acts of piracy were often reported between 2000 and 2010. To this end, Malaysia is seeking to increase its weak air patrol resources, which include only one old C-130H and three King Air 200s..
Leonardo's ATR 72MP
The information was announced via a tweet from Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's defense minister, published this October 9. In all, two ATR-72 MPs will therefore be ordered from Leonardo shortly.
The ATR 72MP is based on the ATR 72-600 transport aircraft. It is being developed to perform missions mainly of a maritime nature;
- SAR (Search And Rescue)
- ASW (anti-submarine warfare)
- AsuW (surface warfare)
- patrolling exclusive economic zones
- electronic reconnaissance (ELINT type)
It carries in particular;
- a Seaspray 7300E AESA radar, capable of detecting, identifying and tracking a multitudes of surface targets at 360 degrees.
- an automatic identification system (AIS), allowing to identify and locate any target equipped with a transponder
- an ASARS DF (Airborne Search And Rescue System Direction Finder), in order to locate the direction of radios emitting on the waves 30 to 410 MHz (SAR waves).
- electro-optical ball in order to acquire an image stream of a target. Depending on the ball installed, it is possible to have a video stream HD and color, infrared or low visibility. It can also include a laser rangefinder, laser pointer and designator, etc.
The ATR 72MP is a highly modular aircraft. It can also be used as an electronic reconnaissance aircraft by adding, for example, the Elettronica ELT-800V2 passive system, capable of detecting, analyzing, identifying and geolocating the ELINT wave source at 360°. For ASW missions, it can carry light torpedoes. The crew includes:
- 2 pilots
- 2 mission system operators
- two observers
They will also be supported in their tasks by three CN-235 transport (formerly Indonesian) aircraft, which are already being converted with U.S. funds into maritime patrol aircraft. The defense minister's announcement also mentions three TAI MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) drones, but the model is not yet known.
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