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How Cutting-Edge Radar Technology Gives Combat Aircraft a Strategic Advantage

Despite its relatively small production numbers, the Airbus Military C-295 tactical military transport has become increasingly popular in military circles due to its inherent versatility. In 1988, a joint Spanish-Indonesian endeavor introduced the CN-235, a high-winged, propeller-driven tactical transport aircraft, and 273 were eventually built under the CASA/IPTN brand.

The C-295 is an upgraded version of the CN-235, with a lengthened fuselage that increases internal hauling capacity by 50%, new turboprops, reinforced wings, strengthened undercarriage, and additional fuel stores. The cockpit uses four LCDs and supports NVG and HUDs. Introduced in 2001, the C-295 remains in active service with over a dozen air forces worldwide. Manufactured by the Airbus Military facility in Spain, the C-295 has a crew of two pilots and can carry up to 71 combat-ready troops or a 20,400 lb cargo payload.

Its dimensions include a length of 80.2 feet, a wingspan of 84.7 feet, and a height of 28.2 feet. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) is listed at 51,145 lbs. Power comes from 2 x Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engines developing 2,645 horsepower each while driving six-bladed propellers. The C-295 has a maximum speed of 360 mph, a cruising speed of 300 mph, a ferry range of 3,300 miles, and a service ceiling of 30,000 feet.

The C-295’s high-wing design allows for good lifting properties and stability in low-level flight, while the fuselage is noticeably tubular with the flight deck mounted over the short nose providing good views out-of-the-cockpit. Variants include the base military model as the C-295M, locally-produced Indonesian marks as the NC-295 and CN-295, and a maritime patrol variant as the C-295 MPA “Persuader.”

Another version is outfitted with Israeli AESA radar for the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C = “AWACs”) role and remains in prototype form, while the C-295W sports winglets at the mainplane wingtips and an upgraded engine installation, which is still in final development. The model may be acquired by the British and is already in service with the Chilean Navy, with another deal to an unnamed NATO member in the works.

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