The Italian Air Force’s (ITAF) fully configured multi-mission MC-27J Praetorian tactical transport aircraft has successfully completed the first phase of ground and flight testing programme.
Undertaken by ATK, Alenia Aermacchi and ITAF, the trials demonstrated the accuracy of ATK’s side-mounted GAU-23 30mm cannon.
The aircraft was modified with various radio and datalinks, and ATK’s roll-on/roll-off (RORO) palletised gun and mission control systems.
An L-3 Wescam MX-15Di electro-optical and infrared turret was mounted under the aircraft’s nose to support multi-mission applications, such as a gunship, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and search and rescue (SAR) missions.
ATK and Alenia Aermacchi said: "The completion of successful testing with the Italian Air Force further validates the capabilities of the RORO gun and mission systems and demonstrates that the programme is ready for fielding.
"This testing builds on previous gun accuracy flight tests done with the MC-27J at Eglin AFB in 2013 and will provide the aircraft with a vital capability and a greater mission flexibility at an affordable cost."
The aircraft completed its maiden test flight from Alenia’s Turin Test Flight Centre in Italy in April.
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.
Based on the C-27J twin-engine turboprop tactical transport, the aircraft is armed with GAU-23 30mm cannon, and precision guided munition weapon systems that enable command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C2/ISR) architectures.
ITAF signed an agreement with Alenia for conversion of up to six C-27Js to multi-mission Praetorian configuration during the Dubai Airshow 2013.
Image: Italian Air Force’s fully configured multi-mission MC-27J Praetorian aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of ATK.