MC-27J multi-mission tactical transport aircraft completes first flight

Alenia Aermacchi reported today it has completed the first flight of a fully configured MC-27J multi-mission tactical transport aircraft. The flight took place at Turin, Italy.

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Fully configured MC-27J multi-purpose tactical transport on its first flight from Turin, Italy. The gun pallet will be assembled in May and go through in-flight firing tests in June 2014. Photo: Alenia
Fully configured MC-27J multi-purpose tactical transport on its first flight from Turin, Italy. The gun pallet will be assembled in May and go through in-flight firing tests in June 2014. Photo: Alenia

Alenia Aermacchi has recently completed the first flight of a fully customized MC-27J multi-mission tactical transport aircraft at the company’s test flight center at Turin, Italy. The aircraft was built as a fully configured flight demonstrator of the MC-27J version developed with ATK. The new configuration was announced at the Farnborough 2012 airshow in the UK,

The modified C-27J representing the MC-27J successfully completed a first phase of ground and flight tests in the spring of 2013. The current version is representing a fully configured platform. The installation of both the ATK developed modular roll-on/roll-off mission and weapon system, and a modified side door for the GAU-23 30 mm cannon installation will be completed in May. In June 2014 the aircraft will enter a new series of flight tests, part of which will test the GAU-23 30mm side-mounted cannon.

The demonstrator aircraft was modified with an L-3 Wescam MX-15Di Electro-Optical and Infrared Turret that was mounted under the nose of the aircraft and is optimized for ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) and SAR missions (Search and Rescue); and with Link-16 datalink software and hardware provisions that will prepare the aircraft for the ATK palletized
mission system installation. Provisions for upgraded Selex ES communication system with crypto capability have been also set up.

Last year the first tests series was conducted by ATK and Alenia Aermacchi personnel at the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The tests demonstrated the C-27J’s ability to host a self-contained, roll-on/roll-of gun pallet (RORO) using the GAU-23 30mm cannon in a side firing configuration. The modules were demonstrated the quickly transition from a cargo configuration to a weaponized configuration and the palletized cannon went through live fire tests, with the aircraft meeting or exceeding all test objectives, Alenia said.

The MC-27J will provide customers with the ability to quickly go from a tactical cargo mission capability to a persistent multi-mission capability utilizing RORO pallets for the integrated mission system consoles, the GAU-23 cannon, and Precision Guided Munition weapon systems that enable C2/ISR architectures.