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Italian Air Force’s C-27J Fleet Set for Enhanced Capabilities with Leonardo’s Latest Upgrade Package

Leonardo and Armaereo, the Italian Defence Ministry’s Air Force Armament and Airworthiness Directorate, have entered into an agreement that marks a significant milestone in upgrading the Italian Air Force’s C-27J Spartan fleet. (The agreement entails the creation, integration, qualification, and certification of a new avionics setup for the C-27J, as well as the modernization of several aircraft systems, including the self-protection system and flight simulator.) The first plane with the updated configuration will be delivered under this deal, with the potential to retrofit the remaining 11 planes.

This contract will allow the Air Force’s C-27J to be equipped with an upgraded avionics suite, which will enhance the plane’s flexibility and operational effectiveness through the integration of new features such as the Mission Computer, Flight Management System, Head Up and Head Down displays, radio and satellite communication systems, and self-protection systems. Additionally, the training system will be updated to reflect the new systems on board, aligning both training devices (flight simulators) and courseware (teaching materials) with relevant technical publications.

Dario Marfè, Senior Vice President Commercial and Customer Services of Leonardo, Aircraft Division, stated, “The latest evolution of the C-27J further improves the Spartan’s efficacy and operational capability. We’re proud to announce that the Italian Air Force has chosen the new avionic configuration of the C-27J, which will provide even better performance and efficiency. With its versatility and mission flexibility, the C-27J offers an even broader range of capabilities to support the operators in facing new challenges.” The Spartan is a symbol of national security, as well as an ideal asset for defense force operations and a vital component of civil protection tasks. Australia’s air force has already agreed to modernize its fleet, and recently, the Romanian and US operators of the Spartan, the US SOCOM and the US Coast Guard, chose to upgrade their C-27J airplane fleets with avionics.

Retrofitting options have been investigated as part of the C-27J program’s development, with the aim of allowing operators to benefit continuously from the aircraft’s enhancements. The C-27J’s multitude of kits and roll-on/roll-off mission systems that are simple to install and transport make it possible to quickly adapt the C-27J to the desired mission configuration. The C-27J can be customized for Maritime Patrol (MPA), Anti-Submarine ωarfare (ASW), and Command-Control-Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C3ISR) versions. As a “tactical airlifter,” the C-27J can transport troops and cargo, parachute troops and supplies, evacuate battlefield medical personnel, provide VIP transportation, and offer assistance in humanitarian and natural disaster situations.

The C-27J can be fitted with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) search radar, electro-optical/infrared systems, and other specialized sensors needed for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR), Maritime Patrol (MPA), Anti-Submarine ωarfare (ASW), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) missions, and support to Special Operation Forces and ground troops. The aircraft’s sensors can be managed using a palletized and quickly detachable mission system that analyzes data collected and relays it to the crew in real-time. The C-27J’s multi-mission capabilities are improved by the firefighting configuration with the roll-on/roll-off second-generation Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS II) from United Aeronautical Corporation, a world leader in advanced aerial application systems.

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