Italy has received the first two of an eventual four ATR 72-600s configured for maritime patrol and search and rescue missions.

To be operated by the country’s air force, which designates the aircraft the P-72A, the turboprops will replace the service’s current fleet of Breguet Atlantics.

Italian aerospace champion Leonardo has performed the modification work to transform the airliners into maritime patrol assets at its facility in Turin.

The P-72As share a number of features with the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant of the ATR 72 which Leonardo developed for Turkey.



However, the ASW systems have been replaced with a comprehensive suite of C4I equipment, and Leonardo’s ATOS mission system. It also gains a self-protection suite derived from that fitted to the company’s C-27J medium transport.

Mauro Moretti, Leonardo chief executive, says: “Security and environmental protection are both vitally important to our country’s economy. As well as international trade passing through our coastal territory, we need to remain vigilant to illegal trafficking and migration flows.”

The remaining two aircraft will be delivered during 2017.