The Pakistan Navy (PN) on Thursday inducted its first modern maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) dubbed ‘Sea Sultans’ based on an Embraer Lineage 1000 aircraft and equipped with sensors an weapons made by Lenoardo.
The PN’s Embraer Lineage 1000 based MPA is expected to serve similar purpose as the U.S. P-8i, a Boeing 737-800 derivative which is in service with India.
The induction ceremony was held in Karachi on Thursday. Speaking on the occasion, Chief of the Naval Staff Amjad Khan Niazi said the aircraft would enhance the PN’s maritime situational awareness.
The aircraft is a variant of Brazilian Embraer Jet aircraft. Two more aircraft of this series have also been contracted by the Pakistan Navy. These aircraft will be equipped with latest weapons and sensors to undertake Maritime Air Operations including anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare.
Earlier, during his welcome address, Commander Pakistan Fleet Rear Admiral Naveed Ashraf highlighted capabilities of the new aircraft and expressed hope that the addition of this potent aircraft will enhance PN capabilities to protect the maritime interests of Pakistan.
Pakistan has hired Leonardo to convert three Embraer Lineage 1000 regional jetliners into Sea Sultan long-range maritime patrol aircraft for its Navy.
Follow-on contracts are expected to bring the total number of Sea Sultans to 10, replacing the country’s long-serving P-3C Orion fleet. Under an additional contract, the aircraft are integrated with an anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol package.
Brazil is also developing a maritime patrol aircraft program based on conversion of the Lineage 1000 to replace it P-3B Orion fleet, a program not connected with the Pakistan MPA project.