The P-3 Orion aircraft are vital assets for the Pakistan Navy's Aviation corps, but they're ageing and will eventually need to be replaced.
Given Pakistan's financial troubles, what are the Navy's options?
The PN did buy 2 ATR-72 MPs and it's likely we'll see additional units based on this platform, possibly Saab-2000 as well.
On the other hand Boeing is beginning to actively market its Bombardier 605-based Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) to 20-30 countries, among them, current P-3 operators. The Boeing MSA is being marketed as an affordable alternative to the P-8 Poseidon, and while it is not armed, Boeing did confirm that it'll develop an armed variant should the customer ask for it. In other words, the Boeing MSA could be a 'P-8 Lite' for countries unable to afford the P-8.
With the Boeing MSA's expected unit price to sit at $55-60mn, it's possible that it'll find its way onto PN's consideration list. I'd be interested into seeing whether the PN would simply acquire a relatively large number of such aircraft (e.g. 12-15) in order to replace the P-3s.
Outside the realm of existing options, I'd recommend Pakistan building ties with Brazil and linking up with Embraer to develop a fully capable maritime patrol and combat aircraft based on the Embraer E2. In my opinion, E2 based MPA/MSA could be a solid competitor against the P-8.
Edited by Saqr, 11 April 2014 - 02:21 AM.