Leonardo has conducted the maiden flight of the C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft in a new baseline configuration, marking a milestone in its development.

The first flight was carried out at Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Turin plant in northern Italy.

The aircraft has been upgraded to satisfy air traffic control requirements such as SESAR and NextGen. It also provides Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS 7.1) capability.

C-27J Spartan features an upgraded avionics system, cockpit control panels and LED aircraft lights.

Major features include the new flight management system (FMS) with required navigation performances and localizer performance with vertical guidance approach capabilities, as well as the latest standard Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Mode 5.

Other enhancements include cockpit displays, weather radar, enhanced satellite communications and radio communication capabilities, intercommunication system, cockpit and cargo panels, and LED lighting system.

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“New operators will enjoy modern avionics and improved operational cost and performance within the aircraft flyaway price.”

Furthermore, the aircraft’s former avionics and general systems interface boxes have been replaced with new equipment developed by Leonardo’s Airborne and Space Systems Division.

The company noted that the new C-27J Spartan baseline configuration will be made available for operators ‘within the aircraft flyaway price’.

Leonardo Aircraft Division managing director Lucio Valerio Cioffi said: “New operators will enjoy modern avionics and improved operational cost and performance within the aircraft flyaway price. The main benefits of the new C-27J baseline configuration are compliance with new civil aviation regulations and military requirements obsolescence risk reduction.”

The upgrades are also being offered to existing customers as a retrofit.

A total of 85 C-27J Spartan aircraft have already been ordered by the airforces of Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, the US, Mexico, Australia, Peru, Kenya, Morocco, Chad, and an undisclosed African country.