ISLAMABAD (Dec 17, 2018) — The Pakistan Navy (PN) has inducted two ex-British Westland Sea King helicopters and the first of two ATR-72 maritime patrol aircraft (MPAs) on order for the service.
The platforms entered service in a ceremony held on 12 December at naval air station PNS Mehran that was attended by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, among others.
The PN had received the first of the ATR-72 twin-engine turboprops converted into MPAs in the second quarter of 2018.
The aircraft, which was ordered via Germany’s Rheinland Air Service, has been retrofitted with “state-of-the-art weapons and sensors” that will “substantially enhance the Fleet Air Arm’s operational capability commensurate with contemporary maritime warfare requirements”, said Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistani military, in a statement.
The two Sea King helicopters, which comprise an ex-UK Royal Air Force HAR3A and a former Royal Marine HC4, are expected to further enhance the capabilities of the PN’s fleet of eight Sea King Mk 45/45A rotorcraft, the first of which entered service in 1974, according to Jane’s World Navies .
“One helicopter is purpose-built for search-and-rescue missions at sea and [the] other aircraft is optimised for the troops-carrying role,” said ISPR.