The Royal Air Force of Oman’s (RAFO) C295 military transport aircraft is set to commence flight testing on 14 May at Airbus Military’s facility in San Pablo, near Seville, Spain.
The aircraft, which is the first of eight, entered the final assembly line on 27 February.
Under a contract awarded in May 2012, which includes the provision of personnel training, RAFO ordered five C295 aircraft configured as tactical transports and three as maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to replace its ageing Short SC.7 Skyvan fleet.
Primarily aimed at boosting the air force’s tactical transport and maritime patrol capabilities in hot and dusty conditions, the aircraft are also scheduled to be operated in support of anti-piracy, illegal immigration and smuggling operations around the Gulf of Hormuz and other coastal regions.
The C-295 is a twin Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engine-powered military aircraft designed to perform tactical airlift, search and rescue (SAR) and maritime patrol and environmental surveillance missions.
Capable of conducting short take-offs and landing on semi-prepared runways, the aircraft features a high-wing, rear-loader design that enables easy loading of mission pallets, passengers, cargo and litters for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), communication and logistic duties or paratrooping operations.
Airbus has to date delivered 93 C295s out of a total 115 ordered to 15 different operators worldwide, including Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Finland, Jordan, Poland, Portugal and Spain, while deliveries to RAFO are scheduled to start from this year.
Five of the originally supplied 16 Skyvan aircraft were operational with RAFO’s 5 Squadron, as of December 2011.
Image: A C-295 military transport aircraft during its flight.