Pakistan has hired Leonardo to convert three Embraer Lineage 1000 regional jetliners into Sea Sultan long-range maritime patrol aircraft for its Pakistan 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, South Africa’s Paramount Group will handle the pre-conversion maintenance, repair and overhaul of the aircraft. Defensenews reported that the contract with Leonardo involves the acquisition of two aircraft, followed by the design, modification, installation and integration of an anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol package.
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. Brazil is also developing a maritime patrol aircraft program based on conversion of the Lineage 1000 to replace it P-3B Orion fleet, but there appears to be no cooperation between the two programs. Using a commercial turbofan engine-powered aircraft as the basis for an ASW (anti-submarine warfare platform is not unheard of. After all, the U.S. P-8 is a Boeing 737-800 derivative.
Defensenews reported that Leonardo has a good relationship with Pakistan’s other military branches, supplying Grifo radars for Mirage III, F-7PG Fishcan fighters and AW139 helicopters. Leonardo was shortlisted on a technical basis for the Lineage 1000 conversion. This was mainly on the basis of the Leonardo SeaSpray radar installed on the RAS 72 Sea Eagle aircraft and Sea King helicopters, and the trusted Italian-origin torpedo-release systems already installed on the Pakistan Navy’s anti-submarine warfare aircraft. Leonardo declined to comment for this story. Similarly, Paramount Group declined to comment, citing “strict confidentiality agreements.
The Seaspray 7500E V2 multi-mode radar combines an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) with a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) processor. Seaspray 7500E V2 provides unparalleled surveillance using a variety of advanced modes, enhancing the platform’s ability to detect even the smaller targets. The Seaspray family of radar combine high performance with ultra-competitive levels of reliability and cost-of-ownership and are easy to operate. Radar offer air-to air and air-to-ground capabilities, performing simultaneously multiple tasks. Selected by 30 international customers for a wide range of fixed and rotary wing platforms, Seaspray owes its success to its superior operational availability and ease of integration.