The Italian air force is expected to later this year complete flight trials of an Alenia Aeronautica C-27J tactical transport modified to counter the threat posed by improvised explosive devices.
Required to counter the asymmetric threats found in demanding operational environments such as Afghanistan, the air force launched a programme to equip the C-27J with a counter-IED (CIED) payload. This has been developed by the service's own electronic warfare operational support unit, the ReSTOGE, which is headquartered at Pratica di Mare air base near Rome.
Under the jamming and electronic defence instrumentation, or Jedi programme, the unit has worked with the air force's experimental wing at Pratica di Mare and with Alenia Aeronautica to define the aircraft modifications and configuration required, and to plan for flight tests and operational trials this year.
Although the service declines to provide further details, Flightglobal understands that the C-27J has been modified to embark a roll-on, roll-off CIED payload of unspecified capabilities. The design also incoroporates onboard monitoring and control consoles and an array of dedicated antennas that are mounted on the airframe for the new mission.