Skip Navigation LinksHome page > EN > About us > News

45 years later maritime patroller BR – 1150 Atlantic is replaced by the new P – 72A


21 September 2017 09.00

Last September 21, at the air base in Sigonella, at the foot of Mount Etna, the farewell ceremony for the glorious BREGUET 1150 ATLANTIC and welcome to the new P-72A, took place. The P-72A is an interim replacement while waiting for a new aircraft able to perform all functions and maritime patrol activities above and under the sea.

The ceremony was presided over by the Italian Navy Chief-of-Staff, Vice Admiral Valter Girardelli, and the Air Force Chief-of-Staff, Lieutenant General Enzo Vecciarelli. Also present were many military and civil authorities from Sicily, and "veterans" of anti-submarine specialty.

According to the Italian Navy Chief-of-Staff: "Within a framework that is still struggling to find some stability, we feel the need to have the availability of assets able to carry out defense activities against underwater threats. At the same time, we must not waist our precious know-how, so unique and unreplaceable, such as that hardly won and jealously guarded by the Antisom Air Force personnel."

The Atlantic, currently the oldest Air Force turboprop aircraft, leaves us after 45 years in service, and after flying for almost 260,000 hours, taking part in countless ASW national, and NATO exercises; as well as 10,000 real missions and nearly 1,000 support operations and safeguard of human lives at sea.

It was the only aircraft specifically designed to patrol and hunt submarines, managed by mixed crews, equally composed of Italian Navy and Air Force pilots and operators; the Atlantic has been the protagonist of many memorable challenges. It flew over the North Pole during the memorial ceremony for the Dirigibile Italia, it flew beyond the equator, it touched four continents out of five, and it was endurance champion (it flew for 19 hours 20 minutes non-stop). However, most of all, its safety and reliability are still unmatched.

All these achievements have been possible thanks to the technical features of the aircraft, but mostly thanks to the constant commitment of the crews that, during these years have been able to match and make the best of seafaring and air mentality combined.

It will be replaced by the P-72A, derived from the widespread twin turbo-prop  ATR-72 600, a patroller whose endurance is lower than its predecessor, yet capable of carrying out satisfactorily patrolling of huge areas of Mare Nostrum, thanks to a super modern suite of sensors and operation systems.

It will shortly be used in various sectors of maritime surveillance and combat above the surface, providing a valid support to the Maritime Picture and to SAR operations. Moreover, the P-72A could be the lead to new use possibilities, such as a support to operations in littoral environment for the San Marco Martine Brigade.

The general emotion was visible among all those who served in the Cagliari 30th Stormo A/S and the Sigonella 41st Stormo, all aware to be witnessing the farewell of a piece of history of the antisom  component.