November 20, 2013: ATK has announced that the Alenia/ATK team has been notified by the Italian Air Force that they have been selected for the integration of the roll-on/roll-off (RORO), palletised command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C2-ISR) and gun systems onto the Italian Air Force (ITAF) MC-27J multi-mission aircraft. The award represents an important contract for the partnership between ATK and Alenia Aermacchi.
The MC-27J is a modified C-27J Spartan Airlifter that allows customers to execute a wide range of missions including armed gunship, airborne C2-ISR, border surveillance, troop and vehicle transport, personnel evacuation and paratrooper deployment. The MC-27J provides quick transfer speed, long operational range and ample cargo capacity. It is also capable of taking off from and landing on short and/or unprepared strips while acting as an autonomous command and control center integrated with a ground command network.
"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 MC-27J is a strategic development programme for Alenia Aermacchi and our partner ATK that we believe is well matched to the current and future asymmetric warfare Air Forces' requirements," said Giuseppe Giordo, Chief Executive Officer of Alenia Aermacchi. "To have been selected by the Italian Air Force and committed to deploying the first aircraft in the operational theatre next spring is a clear confirmation of the MC-27J's capabilities and the industrial development completed to date."
Use of ATK's self-contained RORO mission and weapons systems allow rapid configuration change depending on mission requirements. They are designed for easy embarkation and disembarkation via the aircraft's rear ramp, permitting flexibility in the use of the unaltered aircraft. The suite of sensors and communication system coupled with multiple data links allows the Command and Control pallet to provide improved mission oversight and coordination.
The gun system incorporates ATK's GAU-23 30mm cannon in a side-firing configuration, and is designed to fire numerous types of NATO 30MM X 173 rounds, including the 30MM PGU-46/B munitions. The gun suite will use a simple, automatic feed system in order to minimize crew size and reduce overall operating costs.
ATK and Alenia Aermacchi announced their intent to jointly develop and market the MC-27J multi-mission aircraft at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show. The internally funded test and development program successfully completed its first phase in the spring of 2013. The Italian Air Force is the launch customer for the programme.