On 6 October 2020, the Pakistan Navy announced the selection of the Embraer Lineage 1000 to replace its P-3C Orion in the maritime patrol role, with 10 converted commercial jets, the first of which has been ordered. It was unclear whether the aircraft is being acquired directly from the manufacturer or another party. In-service aircraft may not be available due to low production numbers, while existing operators may be selling their aircraft due to COVID restrictions on air travel.
With only a single aircraft ordered thus far, the program is in its early stages. When converted for Pakistani service, the aircraft will be called Sea Sultan. Embraer did not respond to requests for comment. Using a commercial turbofan engine-powered aircraft as the basis for an anti-submarine warfare platform is not unheard of. After all, the U.S. P-8 is a Boeing 737-800 derivative. But there are challenges in converting the aircraft, not least of all if internal weapons carriage is required where a bomb bay will need to be cut into the airframe.
The Embraer Lineage 1000 is a variant of the Embraer 190 regional jet airliner, launched as a private jet on May 2, 2006. Manufactured by the Brazilian aerospace firm Embraer, the Lineage is advertised as an “ultra-large” business jet with comfortable seating for 19. The Lineage 1000 is based on the Embraer 190 airliner, with added fuel tanks in the lower deck cargo hold space, nearly doubling the jet’s range. It boasts a lavish interior, divided into up to 5 sections including an optional bedroom, washroom with running water, and a walk-in cargo area at the rear.