Leonardo wins contract to upgrade Italian Air Force’s C-27J aircraft


Leonardo’s C-27J Spartan Transport Aircraft: Leonardo and Armaereo, the Italian Defence Ministry’s Air Force Armament and Airworthiness Directorate, have signed a contract which represents an important step in the Italian Air Force’s C-27J Spartan fleet upgrade. The contract includes the development, integration qualification and certification of a new avionics configuration for the C-27J, the upgrading of a number of general systems on the aircraft, the self-protection system and the flight simulator.

Under this contract, Italy Air Force’s C-27J will receive a significant upgrade of its avionic suite through the integration of new features such as the Mission Computer, the Flight Management System, Head Up and Head Down displays, radio and satellite communication systems, self-protection system and other upgrades improving the aircraft’s flexibility and operational effectiveness.

It also includes the delivery of the relevant first aircraft in this configuration, potentially followed by the retrofitting of the remaining 11 aircraft.

The training system will also be updated on the basis of the new systems introduced on-board, aligning both training devices (flight simulators) and courseware (teaching materials) along with relevant technical publications.

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Leonardo C-27J transport aircraft

Leonardo’s C27J Tactical Airlifter.

Dario Marfè, Senior Vice President Commercial and Customer Services of Leonardo, Aircraft Division, said 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,” Dario Marfè said in a statement sent to Defence Star.

According to Italy based defence company, the Spartan transport aircraft reflects the very essence of national security, proving itself as an ideal asset for defence force operations and it also provides a vital contribution to civil protection tasks, as an aircraft capable of reaching the population even in the country’s most remote and challenging areas.

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Before the Italian Air Force, the air force of Australia already signed an agreement to upgrade its fleet. Very recently Romania and US operators of Spartan, US SOCOM and US Coast Guard, chosen for the avionics upgrade of their C-27J aircraft fleets.

The retrofit possibilities have been specifically studied as part of the development of the C-27J programme, with the aim of allowing operators to constantly benefit from the improvements made to the aircraft.

A multitude of kits and easy to install and transportable roll-on/roll-off mission systems allow the C-27J to be rapidly transformed into the configuration required for the relevant mission.

Italian Air Force Leonardo C-27J transport aircraft

C-27J Spartan Tactical Airlifter.

As a ‘tactical airlifter’, the aircraft’s versatility extends from airlifts of troops and cargo to airdrops of paratroopers and materials, from medical battlefield evacuation to VIP transportation, from humanitarian assistance and natural disaster response to firefighting.

The C-27J can be configured in the Maritime Patrol (MPA), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Command-Control-Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C3ISR) versions.

The C-27J can be fitted 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 Warfare (ASW) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) missions, support to Special Operation Forces and ground troops.

The aircraft’s sensors can be managed via a palletised and rapidly removable mission system that analyses data collected and transmits it to the crew in real time.

The fire fighter configuration with roll-on/roll-off second generation Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS II) by United Aeronautical Corporation, world leader in advanced aerial application systems, enhances the C-27J’s multi-mission capabilities.

Leonardo C27J Tactical Aircraft worldwide deployment.

Leonardo C27J Tactical Aircraft worldwide deployment.

Leonard Group

Leonardo, a global high-technology company, is among the top world players in Aerospace, Defense and Security and Italy’s main industrial company.

Leonardo Group has been organized into five business divisions, Leonardo has a significant industrial presence in Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland and the USA, where it also operates through subsidiaries that include Leonardo DRS (defense electronics), and joint ventures and partnerships: ATR, MBDA, Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space and Avio.

Leonardo says it competes in the most important international markets by leveraging its areas of technological and product leadership (Helicopters, Aircraft, Aerostructures, Electronics, Cyber & Security Solutions and Space).

The company which has been listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (LDO), has recorded consolidated revenues of €14.1 billion in 2022 and invested €1.8 billion in Research and Development.

The company has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) since 2010 and has been confirmed among the global sustainability leaders in 2022. Leonardo is also included in the MIB ESG index.

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