Malaysia has selected Italy’s Leonardo as its preferred vendor for a maritime patrol aircraft program. Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein made the announcement over the weekend following the receipt of a second transport aircraft that was converted for maritime surveillance missions with U.S. funding. Leonardo has offered its ATR 72MP, which is based on the ATR 72 turboprop regional airliner and can perform maritime patrol, search and rescue, and electronic intelligence gathering missions using its suite of onboard systems, including radar, electro-optical sensors and satellite communication technology. The ATR 72Mp can also carry lightweight torpedoes for anti-submarine operations. “For the procurement of two (2) MPAs, the Government has agreed to an offer by the Leornado company,” Hishammuddin said in a statement Sunday. The purchase is funded under the Southeast Asian country’s five-year spending plan, rather than its defense budget, he added.