Airbus Military conducted the first test flight of a potential future enhancement for its C295 medium transport on 21 December 2012, with the addition of winglets intended to boost efficiency during take-off, climb and cruise phases. Performed from its San Pablo site in Seville, Spain, the sortie will be followed by other data-gathering flights, the company said in a 2 January statement.
"Possible in-service benefits include improved hot and high runway performance, increased range and endurance, and reduced operating costs," says Airbus Military, which revealed in May it was studying the modification.
One potential candidate to receive the winglets is a special mission version of the C295, which will carry an Elta Systems-sourced airborne early warning and control mission system. In 2012, Airbus Military conducted aerodynamic test flights of a demonstrator aircraft featuring a fixed rotodome, with the same platform also used for the recent activity.
If proven to be of benefit, winglets could be installed to new-build C295s, and also potentially be offered as a retrofit option to current users of the type. The design is operated by, or on order for, a total of 16 nations, as recorded by Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.