The Libyan government is to receive an ATR 42MP Surveyor maritime patrol aircraft during 2009 under a €31 million ($46 million) deal with Alenia Aeronautica.

The deal also includes pilots and system operators training, logistics support and spare parts. The aircraft will be similar in configuration to the five ATR-42MPs employed by Italian coast guard and customs services which are equipped with a Galileo Avionica airborne tactical observation and surveillance mission management system.

The Nigerian air force also has ordered two ATR 42 MPs which are scheduled for delivery in 2009.

Meanwhile, the Japanese coast guard has awarded a follow-on contract to Canada's Field Aviation to convert two additional Bombardier Dash 8-300 twin turboprops to maritime patrol and search and rescue platforms.

The first deal signed a year ago was for three Dash 8-300s which are undergoing completion at Field's Toronto base. The aircraft will feature large observation windows and a certified air-drop capability through the inflight-operable rear cargo door.

Surveillance sensors will be installed, including a 360˚ surface search radar and a stabilised forward looking infrared electro-optical multi-spectral imaging payload. Modification work will begin in January 2009 leading to delivery nine months later.