The first Airbus Military C295 development aircraft fitted with an Airbone Early Warning sand Command (AEW&C) rotodome has successfully completed its first flight on 7th June 2011 at Airbus Military’s site in Seville (Spain). The flight follows extensive research and development work, including wind tunnel testing, leading to the conversion of a C295 to be fitted with the in-house developed rotodome.
The six meter diameter rotodome fitted for the initial trials is a fixed dummy structure intended to verify aerodynamic and structural impact of the rotodome on the aircraft’s overall structure, handling qualities and performance. Flight testing will continue during the next three months to complete the feasibility study and fully validate the concept. On production aircraft the rotodome would be a fast-rotating device housing a state-of-the-art radar providing full 360 degree and continuous coverage of a selected area.
The C295 is currently used for other Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance applications such as maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare or environmental protection missions. The purpose of the current trials is to demonstrate the C295’s capability in the AEW&C domain, thereby expanding the range of C-295 applications beyond the current missions. In recent months the smaller C-235 has been mentioned as a potential aerial gunship, to be modified by ATK for Jordan’s King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau.
As an AEW&C platform the Airbus Military’s C295 will offer relatively large cabin, compared to business-jet based platforms (Gulfstream G550 or Embraer ERJ-145). The Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) avionics architecture offers efficient integration of on-board sensors, including operation and monitoring of the future radar system and display of the aerial picture.