Russia and Italy will jointly build a maritime patrol craft, the two countries announced recently after signing the agreement at the UK’s Farnborough Air Show.
The deal calls for the aircraft to be Russian-built with Italian navigation, communications, systems, and weapons, including WASS lightweight torpedoes, RIA Novosti reports.
“This is an agreement on the promotion of products for third countries. Italian equipment will be installed on Russian-made patrol and special-purpose aircraft,” said Alexander Mikheyev, deputy chief of Russian arms corporation Rosoboronexport. The deal was signed by Mikheyev and the heads of Italian defense contractors. “It took three years to prepare the agreement.”
WASS parent company Finmeccanica is also hoping to strike a deal to modernize the Russian Beriev Be-200 “Altair” amphibious aircraft. The “Altair” is mainly used for firefighting as an aerial tanker. The Italians also see uses for passenger or cargo transport and search and rescue.
There is no word on what the new joint aircraft will look like. The primary American maritime patrol aircraft has been the P-3 “Orion” for many years. It is set to begin being replaced by the Boeing P-8 “Poseidon” this decade.