On 12 December, the Pakistan Navy (PN) formally inducted two refurbished, ex-Royal Navy Westland Sea King (one HAR3A and one HC4) naval helicopters and its first ATR-72-based maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).
The HAR3A was configured for search-and-rescue (SAR) operations and, as such, the PN has had it painted in bright yellow. The HC4 will serve as a troop carrier.
Of the seven Sea King helicopters the PN procured from the U.K., three were earmarked for refurbishment – the PN still must induct the third and last of these helicopters, a HC4. As for the remaining Sea King helicopters,two were stripped for spare parts, while the final two were shipped as-is.
The ATR-72 MPA was delivered
to the PN by Rheinland Air Service in Q2 2018.
Rheinland Air Service implemented the subsystem integration work, which had includeda Star SAFIRE III electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) turret, an Elettronica electronic support measures (ESM) suite and Leonardo Seaspray 7300E active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar.
These are tied together by the Aerodata AG AeroMission mission management system. The AeroMission can display feeds from each of the ATR-72’s sensors, such as the Leonardo 7300E AESA radar.It even has a sensor fusion algorithm, providing the onboard crew with comprehensive situational awareness.
The ATR-72 MPA can also deploy lightweight anti-submarine warfare (ASW) torpedoes, though it does not appear to have a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD). That said, the PN did announce plans for a new MPA to supplantits Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion fleet.
On 11 December, the PN oversaw the launch of a new 3,000-ton survey vessel. Built in China’s Yang Zong, the new survey ship will undergo trials. According to the PN’s media release, the new survey ship, which is due to join August 2019, will “strengthen Pakistan’s marine scientific research capability while providing flexibility to carry out underwater search and localization operations.”