Leonardo has been awarded a new contract for the modernisation of the Italian Air Force’s C-27J Spartan aircraft fleet.

The contract was signed between Leonardo and the Italian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness (Armaereo).

According to the contract, the company will work on the development, integration, qualification and certification of the C-27J aircraft’s new avionics configuration, along with the upgradation of several general systems, flight simulators and self-protection systems.

Leonardo will deliver the first aircraft to the Italian Air Force in upgraded configuration while the remaining 11 aircraft are expected to undergo the same retrofitting process.

Work includes integration of new features such as a flight management system, mission computer, head up/down displays and radio and satellite communication systems in the avionic suite of C-27J military tactical transport aircraft.

Leonardo will also modify accompanying training systems to meet the requirements of the upgraded fleet. The systems will be aligned with the new platforms with the help of courseware (teaching materials) and necessary technical publications.

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The associated activities will improve the flexibility and operational effectiveness of the Italian Air Force’s C-27J fleet.

Leonardo aircraft division’s commercial and customer services senior vice-president Dario Marfè said: “We’re proud to announce that the Italian Air Force has chosen a new avionic configuration of the C C-27J, which will provide even better performance and efficiency.

“With its versatility and mission flexibility, the C-27J offers an even broader range of capabilities to support the operators in facing new challenges.”

The aircraft can be equipped with different kits and easy-to-install roll-on/roll-off mission systems, allowing its rapid transformation to undertake multiple operations, including airdrop, medical battlefield evacuation, VIP transportation, firefighting and other humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.