The Italian Air Force has taken delivery of the first batch of two ATR 72MPs from Leonardo-Finmeccanica.
The aircraft, designated P-72A, are intended to replace the air force's existing fleet of Breguet Atlantic.
Leonardo-Finmeccanica CEO and general manager Mauro Moretti said: “Security and environmental protection are both vitally important to our country’s economy.
"As well as international trade passing through our coastal territory, we need to remain vigilant to illegal trafficking and migration flows.
“Therefore, in order to protect our economic strength and national security we have provided the ATR 72MP, which comes equipped with Leonardo’s latest security and surveillance systems.”
The air force will receive two more P-72As by the end of 2017, as part of a contract signed in 2014.
In addition to the delivery of four ATR 72MPs, the contract covers provision of logistic support services.
Based on the ATR 72-600 turboprop, the aircraft has been designed to perform a wide range of operations such as maritime patrol for the search and identification of surface vessels, search-and-rescue (SAR) missions, the prevention of narcotics trafficking, piracy, smuggling, territorial water security and monitoring and intervention in the event of environmental catastrophes.
The ATR 72MPs will be equipped with latest communication systems in order to transmit or receive information in real time to/from command and control centres either on the ground, in the air or at-sea, to ensure coordinated and effective operations.
Additionally, the aircraft will be fitted with a self-protection system, fully integrated with the ATR 7MP’s mission system and avionics.
The aircraft will be able to fly missions continuously for six and a half hours at ranges up to 200 nautical miles from its starting location.