Marshall Aerospace and Defence has been contracted by special mission system provider Aerodata to convert two ATR 72-500s into maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) for an undisclosed navy.

Marshall will design, manufacture and certify the special mission equipment on board the aircraft, which are expected to enter service with the customer in 2018 and 2019.

A radar, camera, self-protection equipment and stores pylons will be installed on the twin-engined turboprops at Marshall’s Cambridge, UK site and a team of engineers will travel to Aerodata’s location in Braunschweig, Germany throughout the installation.

Marshall adds there could be a later requirement to convert two more ATR 72s into the MSA configuration for the same customer.

Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer database shows the Pakistan navy as having two ATR 72s in storage. These are undergoing conversion to maritime surveillance aircraft, having previously been operated by Air Botswana and Binter Canarias. The Turkish navy has also operated an ATR 72-600 in the MSA role before converting it into a utility configuration in 2013, Fleets Analyzer shows.

ATR 72 utility Turk navy - Alenia Aermacchi

Turkish navy ATR 72 in its previous special mission role

Alenia Aermacchi

“During our 90-plus year aerospace history we have worked on more than 30 different platforms, including the Airbus A318, Boeing P-8, [Lockheed Martin] C-130 [and] Tristar and [Vickers] VC10, making us an extremely experienced special mission partner,” Steve Fitz-Gerald, chief executive of Marshall Aerospace and Defence, says.

“We are pleased to be supporting Aerodata in delivering the mission capability requirements of its customer.”

Aerodata provides special mission systems for surveillance consisting of radar, forward-looking infrared, electro-optics and direction finders.

Marshall provides engineering services including aircraft conversion and also specialises in Beechcraft King Air twin-turboprops.