The Malaysian government has agreed with the offer made by Leonardo for the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) programme. No mention of the aircraft types in but Leonardo has proposed its ATR 72MP twin-turboprop aircraft for Malaysia’s requirements. The Malaysian Ministry of Defence (Kementerian Pertahanan) issued a tender notice seeking two MPA for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF, Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia) in August 2020. the country’s Defence Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein said the purchase of the maritime aircraft and drones were provided for by the Malaysia Plan, as budget allocations were limited and insufficient for the procurement of strategic assets.
The ATR 72MP is an ATR 72-600 derivative developed by Leonardo for search and rescue, maritime patrol, Command and Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR). Leonardo Electronics designed its Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance (ATOS) backbone to manage its sensors, combine their output in a tactical situation presented on up to 4 workstations. The aircraft retains the reliability, maintainability, low lifecycle cost and comfort features of the ATR 72-600 on which it is based, while also including a state-of-the-art mission system, advanced sensors and a complete communication suite.
The ATR 72MP is equipped with the Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance (ATOS) mission system, which manages the aircraft’s wide range of sensors, providing a complete operational picture. Features of the ATR 72MP airborne suite, added to the advanced glass cockpit of the ATR 72-600, include an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder, two INS/GPS (Global Positioning System) inertial navigation systems, a tactical air navigation system and a tactical cockpit display that transmits mission system data to pilots. The communication suite includes several V/UHF and HF radio waves, a broadband SATCOM system and datalinks to simplify mission data exchange.
The ATR 72MP capabilities which enable the monitoring of sea lane traffic, fisheries protection, counter smuggling and counter drug trafficking operations, exclusive economic zones (EEZ) patrol, as well as Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. For use in ELINT, ASW and ASuW missions, the aircraft is equipped with optional subsystems and equipment, including a Defensive Aids Sub-System (DASS) to operate safely in hostile territories, a system for the storage and launch of sonobuoys, an acoustic subsystem, a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), a payload management system, and two external fuselage pylons which can carry up to two light torpedoes.