Malaysia announced in October 2022 that the Italian platform was chosen for Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) missions. The ATR 72 MPA is a twin-turboprop aircraft based on baseline ATR 72-600 and designed for maritime patrol missions, including maritime surveillance, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface unit Warfare (AsuW), Search & Rescue (SAR), medical evacuation, environmental monitoring, and transport of personnel and materials. Two aircraft will be equipped with sensors and a complete communications suite for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) missions over land and sea.
Besides maritime patrol, the ATR 72 MPA is optimised for electronic intelligence (ELINT) gathering, sea surface and submerged target detection and tracking, countering illegal activities, SAR and protecting territorial waters.
Leonardo's Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance (ATOS) controls the aircraft's onboard sensors, combining the data and presenting mission system operators with a comprehensive and continually updated tactical picture. The system integrates all of the aircraft's onboard sensors, capturing data and providing it to the crew through an improved human-machine interface (HMI), allowing the display of all data obtained from the onboard sensors in a full tactical picture. This skill gives situational awareness to the crew.
On-board sensors include the Leonardo Seaspray 7300E radar, which is part of the Seaspray Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar family.
The ATR 72 MPA would also be equipped with ULISSES (Ultra-LIght SonicS Enhanced System), an integrated acoustic sensor system designed to 'listen' for hostile submarines and establish their whereabouts, to support anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface unit warfare (AsuW) missions. ULISSES, like Seaspray, will be integrated with ATOS to provide the ATR 72 MPA crew with a complete image of the environment. ULISSES is the only system on the market that incorporates' multi-static capabilities, which uses various sources of data to triangulate the location of possibly hostile undersea vessels.
An electro-optical sensor turret with colour and monochrome cameras, electronic warfare sensors with wideband electronic surveillance capability, an Automatic Identification System (AIS), and an Airborne Search and Rescue System Direction Finder (ASARS DF) are also part of the ATOS system.
The complete Leonardo communication suite ensures the ATR 72 MPA's interoperability with the associated Ground Station and cooperative assets, allowing the system to share the tactical picture in real-time, disseminating data and information in Line of Sight (V/UHF-HF-WBDL) and Beyond Line of Sight (SATCOM) conditions.