The Pakistan navy has inducted two new capabilities into its air fleet, namely the ATR 72 twin-engined turboprop, which will be configured as a maritime patrol aircraft, and the Insitu ScanEagle unmanned air vehicle.
According to video and news reports from Pakistan, chief of naval staff Adm Muhammad Zakaullah introduced the aircraft at an event at Pakistan naval station Mehran in Karachi, saying they would contribute to the service’s “Aviation Vision 2030”.
In July, pictures emerged of an ATR 72 with Pakistan markings at Rheinland Air Service’s facilities in Germany, where it is understood that the aircraft will undergo modifications to take it to a maritime patrol configuration.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the navy has three ATR 72s in its inventory that will receive the modifications. Aircraft 712 and 808 were at the roll-out at Mehran, with the former next to go in for conversion and the latter – having been delivered in April – likely to be modified last.
Aircraft 788, meanwhile, is already being configured, having entered the workshop in July, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows.
The three aircraft had previously been operated in a civilian role by airlines including Air Botswana, Binter Canarias and Islas Airways.
The ScanEagle, meanwhile, was acquired by Pakistan under an order with the US government placed via its Foreign Military Sales mechanism. Announced in September 2015, the order was made in parallel with others from Cameroon and Kenya, which are acquiring one ScanEagle system each.
Details of Pakistan’s $15.2 million order were announced at the time by the US Department of Defense, but the number of systems delivered was not disclosed. The DoD said hardware and technical data would be delivered to the Pakistani government under the programme by August 2016. It added that 90% of the programme work would be carried out in the USA, with the remaining 10% in Pakistan.