An induction ceremony was held at Pakistan Naval Station Mehran, Karachi, on September 2 for the Pakistan Navy’s first modern long range maritime patrol twin-jet aircraft, the Embraer ERJ-190ECJ Lineage 1000. The chief guest at the ceremony was Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi, who was greeted on arrival by Commander Pakistan Fleet Rear Admiral Naveed Ashraf.
The aircraft is the first of three on order and in Pakistan Navy service will be known as the Sea Sultan. This first aircraft, a 2012-built example acquired second-hand from a Chinese commercial operator, does not yet appear to have been modified with its maritime patrol equipment and still retained its previous civilian colour scheme at the induction ceremony. This Lineage 1000, formerly B-3203 (c/n 19000453) with China Southern Airlines General Aviation), had arrived in Pakistan on December 10, 2020. It was first noted flying with basic Pakistan Navy markings (roundel behind the forward cabin door and Pakistan fin flash, but no serial) on May 27 this year at Lahore Allam Iqbal International Airport.
The aircraft “will be equipped with latest weapons and sensors to undertake Maritime Air Operations” according to a Pakistan Navy press release, which gave no details as to precisely what equipment is to be installed. It has also yet to be confirmed which company will undertake the modifications, although local reports suggest that Leonardo may have been awarded the contract. Ultimately, through follow-on deals, the Pakistan Navy hopes to acquire up to ten Sea Sultans.
The type will replace the Pakistan Navy’s six Lockheed P-3C Orions, which are operated by 28 Squadron at PNS Mehran. The official aircraft documents were handed over to the commanding officer of 28 Squadron by Chief of the Naval Staff Amjad Khan Niazi during the induction ceremony.