Leonardo-Finmeccanica delivered the first two of a total four ATR 72MPs (photo) to the Italian Air Force. Designated P-72A by the Italian Air Force, the aircraft will replace the Air Force’s obsolete Breguet Atlantic.
Mauro Moretti, Leonardo’s Chief Executive Officer and General Manager said: “Security and environmental protection are both vitally important to our country’s economy. As international trade is passing through our coastal territory, we need to remain vigilant to illegal trafficking and migration flows. In order to protect our economic strength and national security we have provided the ATR 72MP, which comes equipped with Leonardo’s latest security and surveillance systems.”
The latest version of the contract, signed in 2014, envisages the delivery of logistic support services, in addition to the supply of four ATR 72MP platforms, which will be completed by 2017.
Developed and produced by Leonardo using the ATR 72-600 turboprop as a base, the aircraft can act in a number of roles including maritime patrol for the search and identification of surface vessels, SAR (search and rescue) missions, the prevention of narcotics trafficking, piracy, smuggling, territorial water security and monitoring and intervention in the event of environmental catastrophes.
The ATR 72MPs will be provided with the latest communication systems, able to transmit or receive information in real time to/from command and control centers either on the ground, in the air or at-sea, to ensure coordinated and effective operations. The aircraft will also be equipped with a self-protection system, fully integrated with the ATR 7MP’s mission system and avionics. The aircraft will be able to fly missions lasting six and a half hours at ranges up to 200 nautical miles from its starting location.
Meanwhile, Leonardo-Finmeccanica also announced it has signed a contract to supply six additional AW139 intermediate twin helicopters to the Italian Customs and Border Protection Service (Guardia di Finanza), including integrated logistic support and training for pilots and technicians.
Valued at around €90 million, the contract will increase the customer’s fleet of AW139s to eight units. Deliveries of the six new aircraft are expected to start in mid-2017 and to be completed in 2019.
The AW139s will be used to perform a range of missions including maritime surveillance and patrol, maritime and mountain reconnaissance, law enforcement and homeland security.
The order also includes options for six additional helicopters, allowing the operator to take a further step towards replacement of its ageing AB412 fleet. The AW139 has been selected by the customer following a European Tender launched in mid-2016. The type demonstrated the best solution to meet the Italian Customs and Border Protection Service’s stringent requirements.
The Italian Customs and Border Protection Service’s new AW139s will feature a wide range of mission equipment which will be managed by Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems’ ATOS (Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance) mission system. Sensors managed by ATOS will include the high-performance multi-mode/multi-mission surveillance radar Gabbiano by Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems and a high definition Forward Looking Infra-Red system with MTI (Moving Target Indicator) capability fully integrated with the mission console to provide a clear and easily understandable tactical picture to the crew.
Communications equipment will include SRT-700 multi-band radios by Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems, marine band and satellite communication systems, M428 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder by Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems. Other mission and safety equipment that will be fitted includes a full Night Vision Goggle (NVG) cockpit and cabin, new generation searchlight, Optical Proximity LiDAR System (OPLS), external fast rope system, wire strike protection system, auxiliary fuel tank, emergency floatation system and external life rafts. The AW139 design incorporates a large spacious cabin for the crew, equipment and survivors accessed by two large sliding doors.