Pakistan Reader# 194, 4 September 2021
On 2 September, Pakistan Navy (PN) inducted first modern long range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, at PNS Mehran Karachi. The twin-engine jet aircraft is a variant of Embraer Jet aircraft utilized in air operations. Dubber as Sea Sultans, the aircraft is equipped with sensors and weapons. The aircraft will perform similar functions like its counterpart, Boeing P-8i, from long range reconnaissance to anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare. Two more aircraft of this series have also been contracted by the Pakistan Navy. Speaking on the occasion, Chief of the Naval Staff Amjad Khan Niazi said the aircraft would enhance the PN’s maritime situational awareness.
The induction is part of larger modernization program for 2030 across various domains of Pakistan Navy – i.e., surface, sub-surface, aviation, network-enablement, and others. In July 2021, reports emerged of Pakistan contracting the Italian defence giant Leonardo to convert three Embraer Lineage 1000 jetliners into the Sea Sultan LRMPA. Pakistan also signed Paramount Group from South Africa to carry out maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) work on the aircraft. The PN intends to acquire a total of 10 Sea Sultan LRMPAs with the goal of supplanting its P-3C Orion LRMPAs.
The decision to buy contract three maritime patrol aircraft complement the modernisation program timelines. The aircraft will become an important asset of the larger plan of ON to transform into a 50 ship strong navy. Historically, the PN operated around eight or nine ‘major’ surface ships (i.e., multi-mission frigates, corvettes, or destroyers with a displacement of over 2,000 tons).
However, the deal is not in line with usual policy of PN to buy some technology and platforms along with off the shelf follow on so that domestic production and maintenance can kick off with the procurement.
“Pakistan Navy Inducts ‘Sea Sultans’ Maritime Patrol Aircraft”, Defenceworld, 2 September 2021
“PAKISTAN NAVY INVESTS IN ORIGINAL WEAPON PROGRAMS”, Quwa, Defence and Analysis Group, 24 July 2021.
Mohammad Ali, “Pakistan Navy Inducts First Long Range Maritime Patrol Jet”, Urdupoint, 2 September 2021.