Alenia Aeronautica is poised to decide on the weapons fit for a proposed armed version of its C-27J Spartan tactical transport being considered by the Italian defence ministry.

First details of the so-called "Praetorian" variant of the twin-turboprop were revealed during the Paris air show in July, with the airframer offering the development to support "typical commando missions".


Credit Alenia Aeronautica

A choice will be made soon on whether to equip the C-27J with a 20mm or 30mm cannon, the airframer said, with the configuration to also incorporate an electro-optical/infrared sensor for target acquisition and tracking applications. The new variant would also be fitted with an enhanced self-protection suite, including directional infrared countermeasures equipment from Elettronica.

The Praetorian product has been developed by a combined company and defence ministry team, with the aim of satisfying Italian and export requirements. Other key elements of the design include Selex Sistemi Integrati's "FlexMis" roll-on/roll-off command, control, communication and intelligence module, plus multiple data links, satellite communications equipment and secure radios.

Alenia Aeronautica is seeking new buyers for its C-27J, which has already entered operational use in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Romania and the USA.

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Source: Flight International