Alenia Aermacchi and its partner ATK announced on April 26 that a fully configured MC-27J multi-mission tactical transport aircraft completed its first flight.
The demonstrator aircraft was modified with an L-3 Wescam MX-15Di Electro-Optical and Infrared Turret that was mounted under the nose of the aircraft and is optimized for ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) and SAR missions (Search and Rescue); and with Link-16 datalink software and hardware provisions that will prepare the aircraft for the ATK palletized mission system installation. Provisions for upgraded Selex ES communication system with crypto capability have been also set up.
The installation of both the ATK developed modular roll-on/roll-off mission and weapon system, and a modified side door for the GAU-23 30 mm cannon installation will be completed in May. In June 2014, a new series of flight tests, including firing the side-mounted cannon, will be completed.
The MC-27J successfully completed a first phase of ground and flight tests in the spring of 2013. The series of tests were conducted by ATK and Alenia Aermacchi personnel at Eglin Air Force Base in the U.S. The tests demonstrated the C-27J’s ability to host a self-contained, roll-on/roll-of gun pallet (RORO) using ATK’s proven GAU-23 30mm cannon in a side firing configuration. Live fire tests and a timed demonstration of the capability to quickly transition from a cargo configuration to a weaponized configuration of the aircraft exceeded all test objectives.