Alenia Aeronautica has launched a programme aimed at providing a special forces variant of its C-27J airlifter for the Italian air force.
Dubbed the Pretorian Programme by the airframer, the effort will look into the feasibility of adding weapons systems and new sensors to the existing platform.
Alenia chief executive Giuseppe Giordo said the special forces variant would be used for "typical commando missions", with the added capability of performing "gunship missions".
© Alenia Aeronautica
The company is looking to make the most flexible platform possible, he added.
However, the weapons system will not be "completely integrated" as this would add "significant risk and significant non-recurring cost" to the programme's development.
Meanwhile, Giordo said Alenia has three additional customers for the regular C-27J, in Africa and South America, which will add 12 aircraft to the backlog for the type.