Leonardo will upgrade up to a dozen C-27J Spartan tactical transports for the Italian air force, under a deal signed with Rome’s Armaereo armament and airworthiness directorate.

Announcing its receipt of the award, Leonardo on 7 March said the deal covers “the development, integration qualification and certification of a new avionics configuration” for the twin-turboprop.

Italian air force C-27J

Source: Leonardo

The Italian air force operates 12 examples of the Spartan transport

The deal will lead to the delivery of one modernised example, “potentially followed by the retrofitting of the remaining 11 aircraft”, it adds.

Work will include installing a new mission computer, flight management system, head-up and multifunctional cockpit displays, plus updated radio and satellite communication equipment and an enhanced self-protection system.

Leonardo also will update simulators for the type under the deal.

Dario Marfe, senior vice-president commercial and customer services at Leonardo’s aircraft division, says the upgrade will deliver “even better performance and efficiency” to the Italian air force.

Italy follows Australia and Romania, along with the US Special Operations Command and US Coast Guard, in contracting Leonardo to perform avionics upgrades to their Spartan fleets.

The Italian air force has 12 C-27Js in active use, with Cirium fleets data showing these as aged between 13 and 16 years.