Interesting mission of an Italian Air Force ATR P-72A (reg. MM62279) over the Sicilian channel this evening.
The ATR is carrying out a patrol mission between Sicily and Tunisia. This type of mission is not unusual, even though lately we have been tracking Italian P-72As mainly over the Ionian and Central Mediterranean.
What makes the mission interesting, however, is that the Russian ship Akademic Ioffe is in the area right now.
As we wrote in a previous article, this ship is officially a scientific vessel but, as we know, this type of ship often has a dual function, and given that the area is home to important submarine infrastructure, we do not rule out the possibility that the P-72A’s mission is also to keep an eye on the passage of the Russian ship in the Sicilian channel.
The position you see in the image above is the last position that the ATR communicated since then (around 18:30 CET) the signal was lost.