Leonardo delivers fourth, most advanced, P-72A maritime patrol aircraft to Italian Air Force

Leonardo delivers last P72A
P-72A maritime patrol aircraft along the flightline of the Italian Air Force 41st Wing. 

On 11 February 2021 Leonardo delivered the fourth and last P-72A maritime patrol aircraft to the 41st Wing Antisom of the Italian Air Force. The Italian Air Force received the first P-72A on 25 November 2016, to replace the BR-1150 Atlantic fleet.

After a period of operational tests, the P-72A began to operate effectively from 7 December 2017, gradually replacing the Atlantic in ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) activities and in support of Search and Rescue operations at sea.

Compared to the previous three, the latter P-72A was delivered in the most effective Final Plus configuration, which involves the implementation of several updates on sensors, on the mission system and on integration and communication capabilities.

This delivery is simultaneous to the launch of the modernization program of the previous three aircraft, configured in Initial Capability (IC), with the aim of bringing them to the latest FC plus standard in the shortest possible time and allowing the 41st Wing to reach Full Operational Capability.

Thanks to the complex suite of sensors that the new aircraft is equipped with, the armed force has been able to significantly expand the spectrum of missions in which to use the aircraft. In detail, the strong net-centric capacity of the system has already allowed its use in complex scenarios, characterized by integration with other aircraft. In parallel, the armed force is continuing its study to broaden the spectrum of use of the aircraft in new types of missions aimed at defending the vital interests of the country. 

The crews of the P-72A are made up of pilots and operators who belong to both the Navy and the Air Force. This is a peculiarity which, for many years now, has been an example of synergy and integration between two armed forces, well tested and effective.

Leonardo delivers last P72A

Leonardo delivers last P72A

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Italian Air Force

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