Leonardo announced on November 11 that final testing of its C-27J Spartan Next Generation (NG) tactical transport had begun, adding that it had secured a launch customer for the platform.
The company did not disclose who the launch customer for the C-27J NG might be but confirmed that the first example will be delivered in 2021. The announcement comes just under two years after Leonardo revealed it had flown an enhanced version of the airlifter, complete with a new baseline configuration, on December 4, 2018.
The C-27J NG features advanced aerodynamic devices, including winglets, that will provide the aircraft with improved operational efficiency and performance. New avionics and navigation systems have also been integrated onto the platform and are designed to comply with next generation air traffic control requirements. It also features a new weather radar and cockpit displays, along with enhanced satellite and radio communication capabilities, LED lightning systems, datalinks and an improved video terrain avoidance and warning system (TAWS).
Marco Zoff, managing director of Leonardo Aircraft Division, said: “The enhanced C-27J brings the unrivalled quality and capabilities of the Spartan to the next, higher level. Its operators will benefit from modern avionics, increased performance and efficiency.
“The Spartan embodies the essence of national security, proving to be the best asset for armed forces’ defence operations and for their fundamental contribution to population support and disaster relief. Our customers have discovered in this aircraft an element of social inclusion because it is the only aircraft capable to reach to reach people in the most remote rural areas of their nations,” he added.
The C-27J Spartan is in operational service with the air forces of Australia, Bulgaria, Chad, Greece, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Romania and Zambia. The platform is also in operational service with the US Army and the US Coast Guard.