New Alenia Gunship Could Fire Hellfires, PGMs
Alenia Aermacchi and ATK presented their MC-27J gunship at the Farnborough International Airshow on July 10 and said the converted C-27J could be configured to fire Hellfire missiles and release precision-guided munitions.
Officially described as a multi-mission version of the Italian tactical transport, the MC-27J will host pallet-based systems offering command and control, ISR and communications broadcast missions, as well as a gunship variant.
The latter version was brought to Farnborough, complete with a Mk44 30mm gun, which fires from the side door. The gun is installed by ATK.
The gun, also used by the U.S. Air Force on its AC-130, will fire 200 rounds a minute from an altitude of up to 12,000 feet and can be installed in four hours, said Dave Sharpin, vice president for strategy and business development at ATK.
Making it distinct from the AC-130 and the CN235 converted into a gunship by ATK for Jordan, the gun barrel on the MC-27J can be removed, allowing the door to be closed and the aircraft reconfigured for other uses.
AleniaAermacchi will also therefore be able to offer the gunship configuration as an upgrade to C-27Js.
A first phase of flight testing to take place this autumn in the U.S. will see a sighting system set on the cannon and linked to the pilot. A second phase next year will involve an electro-optical/infrared camera as well as an extra pallet with space for two operator consoles.
At a later stage, Hellfire missiles could be incorporated, as well as precision-guided missiles on a further pallet, which could be released from the rear ramp of the aircraft or from a second aperture on the side of the aircraft, Sharpin said.
Alenia Aermaccchi has said it aims to sell 50 MC-27Js in the next 20 years. The firm will likely act as prime contractor but ATK may take the role if it already has a close relationship with the customers, officials said.
The Italian Air Force already has a separate requirement for a C-27J gunship, known as Praetorian.