An Alenia Aermacchi/ATK demonstrator for the armed MC-27J has completed its flight debut in a full intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance configuration.
Performed from the Italian airframer’s Turin flight test centre, the sortie was the first to be flown since the installation of an L-3 Wescam MX-15Di electro-optical/infrared sensor – fitted beneath the aircraft’s nose – and Link 16 datalink equipment.
“The installation of the ATK-developed modular roll-on/roll-off mission and weapon system, and a modified side door for the GAU-23 30mm cannon installation will be completed in May,” Alenia says. Flight trials, including firing the sideways-mounted weapon, will be performed the following month, it adds.
Italy’s air force is to modify six of its C-27J medium transports to this so-called “Praetorian” configuration, which can also be used to support search and rescue tasks. The service will also acquire three more of the roll-on, roll-off mission kits to be installed with its 12-strong Spartan fleet, if required.
Alenia and ATK also hope to secure export sales of the MC-27J, and exhibited demonstrators at the Paris and Dubai air shows in 2013. The Royal Australian Air Force – which has 10 Spartans on order – is understood to be interested in the adaptation.
Additional future enhancements to the MC-27J could include the integration of precision-guided air-to-surface weapons.