The Pakistan Navy (PN) inducted ATR-72 (cargo/para-drop configuration) and RAS ATR-72 MPA on 4 January in a ceremony held at Naval Air Station PNS Mehran in Karachi, Pakistan. The Pakistan Navy ATR-72 aircraft in a “cargo/para-drop role” that is expected to “provide added flexibility to special forces’ operations”. The ATR 72 is a twin-engine turboprop, short-haul regional airliner developed and produced in France and Italy by aircraft manufacturer ATR (Aerei da Trasporto Regionale or Avions de transport régional), a joint venture formed by Airbus and Leonardo. The number “72” in its name is derived from the aircraft’s standard seating configuration in a passenger-carrying configuration, which could seat 72–78 passengers in a single-class arrangement.
The Pakistan Navy also inducted the second of two ATR-72 twin-engine turboprops converted into maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) by Germany-based company Rheinland Air Service (RAS) under a contract signed in 2015. The first aircraft, which was handed over by RAS in June 2018, re-entered service with the PN on 12 December 2018 in a ceremony held at naval air station PNS Mehran in Karachi (both ATR-72s had previously been in service with the PN as transports). The RAS 72 MPA which is now known as the RAS 72 Sea Eagle is equipped with a long-range, active electronically scanned array (AESA) multimode radar, as well as electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensors to deliver aerial, maritime, and ground surveillance
The platform also features an acoustic processing system, sonobuoy launchers, a broadband satellite communications system, an electronic support measures suite, a self-protection suite, and two weapon hard-points, enabling anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and maritime patrol capabilities. The PN’s two RAS 72 Sea Eagles also feature Aerodata’s mission management system, called AeroMission, for ASW. The RAS 72 multirole aircraft offers unrivalled efficiency as well as operational flexibility not only for anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol missions, but also for search and rescue and other humanitarian operations. In addition to the MPA configuration, RAS can offer the ATR 72 with a complete range of interior configurations, from pure passenger cabin and troop transport to complex customization required for VIP guests as well as a variety of cargo options.
Rheinland Air Service (RAS), established in 1972, is a German MRO providing comprehensive FAA and EASA Part 145-approved aircraft maintenance, part-out services, and special mission modifications for commercial and business aircraft. In addition, RAS offers spare parts, aircraft sales, special mission aircraft design, integrations and modifications as well as ground handling and fueling services. The company, headquatered in Mönchengladbach, employs 270 staff at four German locations. RAS` special mission division provides tailored turnkey solutions for various fixed and rotary wing airborne platforms and mission systems.