Alenia Aermacchi and ATK have successfully completed the maiden test flight of a fully configured MC-27J multi-mission tactical transport aircraft from the former’s Turin Test Flight Centre in Italy.
During test flight, the demonstrator aircraft flew with a chin-mounted L-3 Wescam MX-15HD electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret, and Link-16 datalink software and hardware provisions, which are expected to prepare the gunship for installation of the ATK palletised mission system.
In addition to this, the companies have built provisions for upgraded Selex ES communication systems with crypto capability into the aircraft.
The gunship is scheduled to undergo a new series of flight tests, including firing the side-mounted cannon, in June, following installation of ATK developed modular roll-on/roll-off mission and weapon system, and a modified side door for the GAU-23 30mm cannon in May.
Launched at the 2012 Farnborough Airshow in the UK, the aircraft successfully completed a first phase of ground and flight tests at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the US, in spring 2013.
Jointly conducted by ATK and Alenia personnel, the test series demonstrated the aircraft’s ability to host a self-contained, roll-on/roll-off gun pallet (RORO) using ATK’s combat-proven GAU-23 30mm cannon in a side firing configuration.
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The test series also involved live fire tests and a timed demonstration of the gunship’s capability to quickly transition from a cargo configuration to a weaponised configuration.
Jointly developed by Alenia and ATK, the MC-27J is an advanced multi-mission system designed to assist air and special forces in anti-terrorism operations and evacuation of military personnel and civilian populations from crisis zones.
The aircraft, which is based on the C-27J twin-engine turboprop tactical transport, is equipped with GAU-23 30mm cannon, and precision guided munition weapon systems that enable command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C2/ISR) architectures.
Image: A fully configured MC-27J aircraft in flight over Alenia’s Turin Test Flight Centre in Italy. Photo: courtesy of Lidie Berendsen/AleniaAermacchi.