SHAH ALAM: In an earlier post, Malaysian Defence talked about the cost of MPA with the RMAF and other users. RMAF own MPA costs RM395 million per aircraft as the two aircraft is RM789.6 million. The MPA is of course the Leonardo ATR 72 which is equipped for ASW.
Anyhow, on July 10, Israeli firm Elbit Systems announced it had secured a $114 million contract with an un-named Asia-Pacific nation to supply two long-range patrol aircraft (LRPA). The two aircraft will be based on the ATR 72-600 turboprop airliner with Elbit integrating the mission suite.
Elbit said it will integrate in each aircraft a mission suite that includes a Mission Management System, Electro-Optics, Radar, SIGINT, Communication and more.
I am guessing that the unnamed customer is the Philippines as the air force has issued a tender for LPRA several years back. I stand to be corrected of course. Although the tender called for the LRPA, it is an MPA by another name as it is supposed to be equipped with sonobuoy launchers.
What is interesting about the Elbit Systems announcement is that the LRPA is based on the ATR 72-600 turboprop airliner much like our own MPA (it is unclear which variant of the ATR will be for RMAF). The contract cost of US$114 million meant that the contract is RM532 million on the current exchange rate.
Which meant that each aircraft cost RM266 million. However, just like the other post, I caution against saying that it is cheaper than our own MPA as there too many variables. The Elbit release did not say whether the ATRs airliner to be converted to the LRPA are brand new aircraft. Furthermore, many details about our own MPA is still rahsia so it will be difficult to compare them, fairly.
And most importantly, we will never consider buying anything from an Israeli firm. So even if it is cheaper and better, it is off the table.
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