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Pakistan Navy Seeks Platform for Long-Range Anti-Sub Aircraft

On 10 January 2020, the Pakistan Navy (PN) released a tender for one twin-engine jet-powered aircraft it will use as a platform for its next-generation long-range maritime patrol aircraft (LRMPA).

In its documentation, the PN outlined that it requires the aircraft to fall within the following parameters:

  • Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW): 120,000 lbs to 140,000 lbs
  • Ferry Range: 4,000+ nautical miles
  • Total Length: 120 ft or less
  • Wingspan: 112 ft or less
  • Maximum Take-Off/Landing Distance: 7,000 ft
  • Service Ceiling: 40,000 ft to 50,000 ft

The PN wants bidders to offer aircraft in a clean configuration, i.e., ‘as-is’ if the aircraft is a passenger or a VIP/executive transport. Moreover, the aircraft “should have no design deviations from the OEM specified basic configuration and should conform to OEM’s original structural design.”

The aircraft “should be suitable for subsequent modification as LRMP” capable of the following missions:

  • Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)
  • Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW)
  • Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
  • Airborne Early Warning (AEW)

The LRMPA configuration will also be able to support secondary roles, including asymmetrical threats or challenges, search-and-rescue, training, and transport.

Finally, the PN requires that the aircraft’s ‘major components’ – i.e., engines, flight control system, flight navigation and other instrumentation, landing gears and others – be completely free of ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) restrictions. In other words, 100% clear of restricted US-origin systems.

However, the aircraft must also benefit from worldwide adoption, specifically with a minimum 100 orders as well as “worldwide commercial MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) support” for its engines, flight instruments, air conditioning, auxiliary power units (APU), and other critical components.

The PN Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, outlined the service arm’s requirement for a new LRMPA in 2018, namely as a successor to the venerable – but aging – P-3C Orion. The CNS had stated that the PN was open to acquiring a next-generation solution “from any source, including the US.”[1]

Based on the information in the tender, it appears that the PN is moving ahead with a custom solution…

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[1] Anwar Iqbal. “US suspension of aid not a ‘life or death situation’ for Pakistan, says navy chief in Washington.” Dawn News. 18 September 2018. URL: