This last aircraft boasts an advanced configuration than the previous ones.

Third P-72A Italian Air Force
Leonardo delivers the third P-72A to the Italian Air Force.

On 5 December 2018, Leonardo delivered the third P-72A maritime patrol aircraft (41-04) to the Italian Air Force. The aircraft was assigned to the 41st Wing of Sigonella, Sicily, as well as the previous ones. The Italian Air Force introduced the P-72A to replace the legacy Atlantic and received the first aircraft on November 25, 2016. The fourth and final aircraft will be delivered shortly.

This last P-72A boasts an advanced configuration than the previous two planes, it includes various implementations and upgrades on sensors and mission system. The new features are planned to be retrofitted to the other two P-72s.

Leonardo's modern system allows the crews to play more roles than ever before, the officers of the 41st Wing are continuing the training and experimentation process to be able to cover the multiple roles offered by the platform. Recently they took part in the main military exercises where they practiced various activities such as providing escort for combat aircraft during the transfer flights over the sea and missions of Intelligence, Survelliance, Reconnaissance, Anti Surface Warfare and Slow Motion Interception.

Thanks to the P-72A fleet, the 41st Wing can guarantee its main roles that includes maritime surveillance, contrast to illicit trafficking and international terrorism, the safeguarding of human life at sea and the protection of the main traffic routes in the southern areas of the Mediterranean Sea.

The ATR-72MP (called P-72A by ItAF) is a multirole Maritime Patrol and C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) aircraft developed and built by Leonardo’s Aircraft Division from the platform of the modern ATR 72-600 regional turboprop.

The aircraft is equipped with Leonardo's ATOS mission system, which features advanced data fusion techniques to present a single tactical picture to the operator that integrates information from all of the aircraft's on-board sensors. A key sensor on the ATR-72MP is the powerful surveillance radar Leonardo's Seaspray AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array). The aircraft also uses 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 a self-protection system, fully integrated with the ATR-72MP’s mission system and avionics.

Currently the aircraft was acquired by the Italian Air Force and Italian Custom Police.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Italian Air Force

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