ATK has successfully completed the first flight test of the Jordanian Armed Forces’ two CASA-235 light gunship aircraft at an undisclosed location. Carried out following completion of modifications and ground testing, the testing forms part of the flight test programme, which seeks to validate the newly installed weapons and gun system. The company secured a contract from the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) in February 2011, for conversion of two CASA CN-235 twin-engine transport aircraft into highly-capable and cost-effective light gunships for the Royal Jordanian Air Force. ATK Defense Electronic Systems division vice-president and general manager Bill Kasting said the start of the flight test represents a major milestone achievement by the company and KADDB team. "This programme will provide the Kingdom of Jordan with the first multi-mission gunship capability in the region,” Kasting said. Working in partnership with KADDB, the company manufactured and provided the system integration and aircraft modifications to turn a CASA-235 cargo plane into a multi-mission gunship.
The company installed an electro-optical targeting systems, a laser designator, aircraft self-protection equipment, a synthetic aperture radar, and an armaments capability, which can offer sustained and accurate firepower in multiple scenarios using Hellfire laser-guided missiles, 2.75in rockets, and a side-mounted M230 link-fed 30mm chain gun. The capabilities are integrated with and controlled by ATK’s STAR mission system that provides both day and night reconnaissance and fire control capabilities, and the ability to acquire, monitor and track items of interest. Modification work has been carried out in Jordan and at the company’s facilities in Texas, Arizona and Alabama, US, while the aircraft are scheduled to be delivered upon successful completion of the test programme. The CASA-235 gunship offers operators an enhanced capability to conduct responsive defence, counterinsurgency, border surveillance and security missions.
Image: A CASA CN-235 twin-engine transport aircraft of the Spanish Air Force. Photo: courtesy of Roberto Plà.