C-27J to turn “Spooky” at Farnborough

You didn’t hear this from me, but something “Spooky” is going to happen to Alenia Aermacchi’s normally innocent-looking C-27J transport at next week’s Farnborough air show.

Sharp-eyed readers of Flight International’s new and largest issue of the year (which we affectionately nickname the “Fattie”) might have spotted this intriguing advert nestled amid the satisfying variety of feature articles. It heralds the arrival of the MC-27J – an armed version of the “Spartan”, to be offered by Alenia Aermacchi and ATK.

MC-27J ad 560.jpgDon’t mistake this beastie for a previous Alenia proposal to develop an aircraft to support Italy’s special forces requirements – this one is aimed squarely at the export market. Mission equipment will be roll-on, roll-off in design.

The key addition visible from the image used above is what appears to be a 30mm cannon protruding from the side of the cargo hold. That’d be useful for border surveillance and close air support missions, and might even make some of those Somali pirates think twice.

ATK already has valuable experience here, having previously secured a contract to modify two ex-Spanish air force Airbus Military CN235s as dedicated gunships for use by the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

Others have had the same thought, too. Airbus Military earlier this year revealed that it is exploring the possibility of offering modular gunship and command and control payloads for its CN235 and C295 products. It had even discussed the opportunity with none other than ATK.

We’ll have more news about the MC-27J as part of our comprehensive coverage from the show next week.

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