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Leonardo Unveils Cutting-Edge Upgrade Package for Italian Air Force’s C-27J Aircraft

Leonardo and Armaereo, the Italian Defence Ministry’s Air Force Armament and Airworthiness Directorate, have agreed to a contract that marks a significant step in the upgrade of the Italian Air Force’s C-27J Spartan fleet. (The contract involves the creation, incorporation qualification, and certification of a new avionics setup for the C-27J, as well as the improvement of several general aircraft systems, the self-protection system, and the flight simulator.

It also entails delivering the first aircraft with this setup, potentially followed by the retrofitting of the remaining 11 aircraft.) Under this deal, the C-27J Spartan will receive a significant upgrade to its avionics system, with new features such as the Mission Computer, Flight Management System, Head Up and Head Down displays, radio and satellite communication systems, self-protection system, and other enhancements that will enhance the aircraft’s flexibility and operational efficiency.

Along with the relevant technical publications, the training system will be updated based on the new systems installed on-board. Dario Marfè, Senior Vice President Commercial and Customer Services of Leonardo, Aircraft Division, stated, “The C-27J’s most recent development enhances its effectiveness and operational capacity. We’re delighted to announce that the Italian Air Force has chosen the C-27J’s new avionics configuration, which will enhance its performance and efficiency even further.”

The Spartan is the epitome of national security, proving itself to be an excellent resource for military operations while also making a significant contribution to civil protection missions, as an aircraft capable of reaching even the country’s most remote and challenging areas. The Australian air force had already agreed to upgrade its fleet before the Italian Air Force. Very recently, Romania and US Spartan operators, US SOCOM and US Coast Guard, chose to upgrade the avionics on their C-27J aircraft fleets. Retrofit options were studied as part of the C-27J program’s development, with the goal of allowing operators to continually benefit from the aircraft’s improvements. The C-27J can be quickly transformed into the configuration necessary for the relevant mission using a variety of kits and simple to install and transport roll-on/roll-off mission systems. The C-27J can be configured in Maritime Patrol (MPA), Anti-Submarine ωarfare (ASW), and Command-Control-Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C3ISR) versions.

The aircraft’s versatility as a “tactical airlifter” extends from transporting troops and cargo to dropping paratroopers and materials, from battlefield medical evacuations to VIP transportation, from providing humanitarian aid and responding to natural disasters to firefighting. The C-27J can be equipped with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) search radar, electro-optical/infrared systems, and other specific sensors essential for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR), Maritime Patrol (MPA), Anti-Submarine ωarfare (ASW), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) missions, support to Special Operation Forces, and ground troops. The aircraft’s sensors can be managed using a palletized and quickly removable mission system that analyzes data collected and transmits it to the crew in real-time. The aircraft’s multi-mission capabilities are improved by the roll-on/roll-off second-generation Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS II) by United Aeronautical Corporation, a world leader in advanced aerial application systems, in the firefighting configuration.

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