Leonardo reportedly reached an agreement with the government of Pakistan to lead the development program of the Sea Sultan, a maritime patrol aircraft based on Embraer’s Lineage 1000E business jet.
The Pakistan Navy’s plan is to replace the P-3 Orion turboprops, but the decision to create an unprecedented maritime patrol platform has raised doubts about its viability.
The Pakistani government has already acquired the first Lineage 1000E, which arrived in the country at the end of last year. The program plans to convert 10 aircraft of the model, a business version of the E190 passenger jet.
Thanks to an extra tank of fuel, the Lineage 1000E can fly non-stop for 8,512 km (4,600 nautical miles), about 4,000 km longer than the E190.
Embraer out of the project
The conversion of the aircraft will be led by Leonardo, which will have the task of acquiring two more jets for the first phase of the program. The Italian company will design, modify, install and integrate an anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol platform on the jetliner.
The South African company Paramount Group would also have been contracted to carry out maintenance, repair and overhaul of the Lineages prior to the conversion.
Despite the choice of the Brazilian jet, Embraer is not expected to participate in the program. The Lineage 1000E was no longer offered in the executive market last year and the model’s fleet is estimated at 28 aircraft, which could hamper Pakistan’s plan to convert 10 units.
Defense News contacted Leonardo, who declined to comment while the Pakistani government did not respond to the site.