Pakistan has inducted a new long-range spy aircraft to keep an eye on Indian submarines, as the Indian Navy is doing with China. A long-range maritime patrol aircraft, ‘Samudra Sultan’ has been inducted into the Pakistan Navy as part of its ongoing modernization programme.
The Marine Sultan is a twin-engine modified Embraer Lineage 1000 jet, purchased to replace its fleet of long-range Lockheed Martin-built P-3 Orion spy planes.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, Pakistani defense analysts have shared some information about Samudra Sultan and its capabilities with The Eurasian Times.
A Rawalpindi-based defense journalist and researcher said seven to eight more people are expected to be pressed into service after the project is completed.
However, he did not specify how long it would take for the aircraft to become operational.
In the report, Indian defense analyst Joseph P. Chacko said it could be deployed anywhere from two to three years before the Maritime Sultan was commissioned.
He stated that the purchase was in response to an order of 18 Poseidon P-8 LRMPA placed by the Indian Navy and claimed that the induction of the maritime sultan could have far-reaching implications for Indian submarines, which have long been a threat to Pakistani warships. An active threat remains.
The Pakistan Navy currently uses RAS 72C Eagle aircraft equipped with Leonardo sea spray radar.
It is capable of undertaking short range maritime patrol.
The Embraer Lineage 1000 jet will be specially adapted for long-range operations and the Italian firm Leonardo has once again been called in for the necessary modifications.
Interestingly, Pakistan’s C-27J Spartan and the Franco-Italian ATR 42 aircraft and the ATR 72 were both modified by the company for maritime applications in the past.
South Africa’s Paramount Group has been selected for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of Sea Sultan, the report said.
This development has inevitably seen defense enthusiasts draw gentle comparisons between the newly inducted Pakistani Navy’s Marine Sultan and its Indian naval counterpart, the Poseidon P-8 (P-8i Neptune).
The report said that Chacko said the maritime sultan’s primary task would be to ‘hunt’ submarines of the Indian Navy and play a role in anti-ship operations.
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