MILAN — Israel’s Elbit Systems has won a $114 million contract to provide two long-range patrol aircraft to an undisclosed Asian-Pacific customer, who many observers believe could be the Philippine air force, which has long searched for such platforms.
The desire to purchase long-range patrol aircraft (LRPA) is a project that dates back to 2013 for the country’s air service. Put on the back burner for several years due to financial constraints and failed tender processes, Manila re-committed to the program in 2020 under a revised modernization plan for its armed forces.
The requirements were for two maritime LRPA to equip the 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing. Local media reported at the time that an Israeli solution was likely to be chosen through a government-to-government contract.
Hence, when Elbit announced on July 10 that it will provide two aircraft equipped with an advanced mission suite, there was little doubt as to who the customer could be. But the company declined to comment.
Work under the contract will run through 2029, according to Elbit. The company said that the two planes will be based on the turboprop ATR 72-600, and that each will be integrated with its own Israeli sensors and subsystems.
There are a number of variants of this aircraft in service. It remains unclear whether the types destined for the new client in Asia will include anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.