Malaysia will receive two ATR 72 MPA from Leonardo 

An ATR 72 MPA maritime patrol aircraft overflies a ship.
Photo Credit: Leonardo
By Indy Udol 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

The Malaysian Defence Ministry has selected the ATR 72 MPA maritime patrol aircraft from Leonardo for their maritime surveillance duties. 

At the highly anticipated Defence Aviation and Maritime Show at LIMA 2023 (Langkawi Island, Malaysia), the Defence Ministry of Malaysia inked a contract with Italian firm Leonardo to supply two ATR 72 MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft). 

The Contract


The contract awards Leonardo the go ahead to supply the ATR Special Mission aircraft in MPA, or Maritime Patrol variant/configuration, alongside integrated logistical support and training services.

This contract is poised to raise the capability of the Malaysian defense forces to protect their homeland. 

The ATR 72 MPA


The aircraft is the ATR 72, retrofitted by Leonardo’s system. The aircraft is officially called the ATR 72 MPA, which is a twin-turboprop machine designed for sophisticated maritime patrol missions, which is crucial for countries like Malaysia, a maritime nation.

The ATR 72 is the latest and specialized variant of the ATR regional transport aircraft, which is part of a wider range of services developed and offered by Leonardo, for special missions.

ATOS Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance system Photo Credit: Leonardo

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Leonardo also offers missions such as maritime surveillance, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface unit Warfare (AsuW), Search & Rescue (SAR), environmental monitoring, medical evacuation, and transport of personnel and materials.

An Unrivalled Aircraft


Malaysia has made an appropriate choice in choosing the ATR. The European-made regional aircraft is known for its reliability, maintainability, low-lifecycle costs, and comfort for its operating personnel.

The ATR-72 600 variant is used throughout the military and the civilian world.

The aircraft chosen by the Malaysian Defence Ministry is equipped with a complete communications suite for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) missions over land and sea.

The avionics suite can operate in independent and net-centric modes, allowing the operator (Malaysian Forces) to control its data entirely, for collection, analyzing, and sharing.

Therefore, this makes the ATR 72 MPA an unrivalled aircraft, for maritime patrol, electronic intelligence (ELINT) gathering, sea surface, and submerged target detection and tracking. These technologies are well suited for border patrol, tackling piracy, and smuggling.

During wartime, the ATR 72 MPA also comes in handy along with routine patrol missions. The aircraft is also designed to protect Malaysian waters and has the potential to become a fully-capable Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface unit Warfare (AsuW) platform. 

Dario Marfè, SVP of Aircraft Commercial & Customer Services at Leonardo, said: “We are proud that the Malaysian Government has chosen our ATR 72 MPA, an aircraft which represents Leonardo’s advanced technological capabilities in the design and integration of platforms and systems at the highest levels.”

“The ATR 72 MPA combines reliability and low operating costs, all the advantages of the ATR 72-600 regional passenger transport aircraft, and features a state-of-the-art Leonardo mission system.”

“It is positioned on the market as a tremendously effective solution for the security and defense of its customers,” he concluded.

The LIMA 2023 shows the capabilities and the direction of the Malaysian Defence capacity. The ATR 72 order shows Malaysia is fully committed to becoming a fully-fledged advanced maritime nation. 

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