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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 17:20
Roll-on/roll-off weapons system for MC-27J


ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 26 (UPI)


Alenia Aermacchi's U.S. partner for weaponizing the C-27J airlifter has given details of the armaments the aircraft will carry and how it will carry them.


ATK said the MC-27J variant will be equipped with its GAU-23 Bushmaster 30mm cannon configured for firing from the side of the plane. The gun uses a simple, automatic feed system and fires a variety of NATO 30mm rounds.


The weapon system will be mounted on a roll-on/roll-off pallet for quick mounting and removal from MC-27J via the plane's rear ramp, allowing for quick reconfiguration of the aircraft for other missions, including command and control through pallet-mounted sensors and communications equipment.


The aircraft can also be used for transporting troops and cargo.


The first customer for the MC-27J is the Italian Air Force, which will use the aircraft for its special forces, which will deploy the plane in an operational theater next spring.


"The selection of the MC-27J by the Italian Air Force and the fielding of this aircraft recognize the significant capability we have teamed to provide," said Mike Kahn, president of the ATK Defense Group. "Our partnership with Alenia Aermacchi on the MC-27J will give the Italian Air Force an adaptable, agile and affordable multi-mission solution."


The base C-27J is a twin-engine turboprop transport with a cruise speed of 362 mph, a ceiling of 30,000 feet and a range of more than 1,000 miles with a payload of 22,000 pounds.

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25 novembre 2013 1 25 /11 /novembre /2013 12:50
Italian Air Force To Launch Gunship C-27J


November 17, 2013 By Anthony Osborne aviationweek.com


The Italian air force (AMI) is expected to sign a deal to convert several of its C-27J Spartan tactical transports into gunships at the Dubai Air Show on Monday.


Aviation Week ShowNews understands that six of the air arm’s 12 C-27Js will be converted into the MC-27J gunship variant, currently under development by manufacturer AleniaAermacchi, ATK and Selex ES. The aircraft are expected to be assigned to support Italian Special Forces units.


The deal makes the AMI the launch customer for the program, which has also garnered interest from other C-27 operators. It also makes Italy the first European country to operate a gunship of this kind.


Three of the aircraft will undergo the full conversion program while the other three will be configured to take the system when required. The deal is expected to include development, evaluation, certification and logistic support for the aircraft. A single prototype, separate from the MC-27J demonstrator, will be used to test the systems.


The MC-27J makes use of palletized systems. The mission control system and the gun are self-powered and fit snugly into the cargo hold with no need to plug them into the aircraft power systems. On the ground, the pallets can simply be plugged into mains power to re-charge the batteries. The companies have set a time limit of four hours to role and de-role the aircraft from its gunship configuration back into the C-27J’s standard transport role but engineers have been able to do it in a quarter of that time.



The company is also expected to announce the results of a second phase of testing which integrates ATK’s ScatheView mission system with an electro-optical sensor and the electronically traversable ATK-produced 30mm GAU-23 cannon, which is fired from the port-side paratroop door. The company has already completed Phase 1 of the program, which saw a series of firing trials being flown in partnership with the USAF over the Gulf of Mexico in April.



A third phase of integration will add the capability to carry and launch precision-guided weapons. The munitions could include the Raytheon AGM-175 Griffin or the Northrop Grumman GBU-44 Viper Strike. These are likely to be soft-fired either by opening the ramp and ejecting the weapons out the back of the aircraft or potentially dropped through a series of launch tubes cut out of the cargo loading ramp. The gun pallet currently carries around 500 rounds of ammunition with gunners generally firing a burst of eight rounds when engaging targets.

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7 février 2013 4 07 /02 /février /2013 17:20


Armed MC-27J Alenia Aermacchi


Feb. 7, 2013 by Luca Peruzzi – FG


Alenia Aermacchi and ATK will complete the first phase of testing for an armed, multi-mission version of the C-27J battlefield airlifter by the end of February.


"The MC-27J version is not just a gunship", according to an Alenia Aermacchi source, "but an adaptable, agile and affordable platform solution to be equipped with a sensor, communication and weapon suite able to execute a wide range of customer-driven missions."


Unveiled as a product at the Farnborough air show in July 2012, the MC-27J is being developed and marketed by an Alenia and ATK team, with the companies acting as platform system integrator and modular mission and weapon system supplier, respectively.


"We are introducing roll-on and secure pallets, quick connect interface with avionics and aircraft systems, and working on an external antenna and sensor configuration to reduce operational limitations for transport missions," Alenia Aermacchi says.


The companies are offering a mission suite based on a roll-on/roll-off module, with two mission control operator stations, a cockpit display and command units capable of accomplishing a wide range of missions. The aircraft also boasts two electro-optical/infrared sensor (EO/IR) turrets for surveillance and weapon targeting, a new synthetic aperture radar, fire control system, secure radios and a datalink.


The armed configuration is based on a pallet-mounted ATK GAU-23 Bushmaster 30mm automatic cannon, also selected for the US Air Force's Lockheed Martin MC-130W Combat Spear special mission/gunship.


Weighing less than 900kg (1,980lb), with 500 rounds of ammunition, the weapon is fitted at the rear left door with the gun barrel protruding.


Flight International understands the gun has a slant range of 2.2nm (4km) from a 5,000ft (1,520m) altitude, and will be fired in unpressured conditions to enhance accuracy. The MC-27J also can carry precision-guided munitions, including those released from launchers incorporated with the aircraft's rear ramp.


An Alenia Aermacchi source says the first firing test phase will be performed at a US range, using a company-owned C-27J with a fixed gun with manual adjustment and cameras installed. The process will include five or six flights involving single and multiple rounds being fired, and will be completed during February.


The companies have, meanwhile, already started a second phase of work with an ATK-provided GAU-23 gun trainable mount, fire control software, installed EO/IR turrets and a mission system. These activities are scheduled to be completed, with additional testing, before the end of 2013.


Alenia Aermacchi says the C-27J has so far been ordered by 10 customers, with the latest being Australia and an undisclosed nation from central Africa. The company has so far delivered 54 of the 91 aircraft ordered, with more than 60,000 flight hours amassed and the type delivering an average availability rate of over 70%.

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17 juillet 2012 2 17 /07 /juillet /2012 17:30



July 17, 2012: Strategy Page


The U.S. Air Force has officially accepted the modified 30mm Mk44 Bushmaster automatic cannon as the GAU-23. For the last three years, modified (and continually tweaked) Mk44s have been operating on a dozen U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunships and, more recently as part of the U.S. Marine Corps Harvest Hawk ("instant gunship" via several pallets of sensors and weapons) version of the KC-130J tanker.


The 30mm Bushmaster cannon weighs 157 kg (344 pounds) and fires at 200 or 400 rounds per minute (up to 7 per second). The Bushmaster has 160 rounds available, before needing a reload. That means the gunner has 25-50 seconds worth of ammo, depending on rate of fire used. Each 30mm high explosive/incendiary round weighs about 714 g (25 ounces, depending on type.) The fire control system and night vision sensors, enables the 30mm gunners to accurately hit targets with high explosive shells. Earlier SOCOM AC-130 gunships are armed with a 105mm howitzer, a 25mm and 40mm automatic cannon. But the two smaller caliber guns are being phased out of military service. The air force is now equipping its gunships just with smart bombs and missiles as well as one or two GAU-23s.


The big thing with gunships is their sensors, not their weapons. Operating at night, the gunships can see what is going on below, in great detail. Using onboard weapons, gunships can immediately engage targets. But with the appearance of smart bombs (GPS and laser guided), aerial weapons are now capable of taking out just about any target. So gunships can hit targets that were "time sensitive" (had to be hit before they got away), but could also call on smart bombs or laser guided missiles for targets that weren't going anywhere right away. Most of what gunships do in Afghanistan is look for roadside bombs, or the guys who plant them. These gunships want to track back to their base, and then take out an entire roadside bomb operation.

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