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Leonardo Demonstrates Mission Versatility and Prowess of C-27J Aircraft

Leonardo welcomed Turkish journalists to the C-27J Aircraft Media Tour, held from November 22-24, 2017 at the 46th Air Brigade in Pisa, Italy. Presentations were made during the event by Leonardo officials and members of the Italian Airforce on the mission capabilities of the versatile C-27J

Leonardo welcomed Turkish journalists to the C-27J Aircraft Media Tour, held from November 22-24, 2017 at the 46th Air Brigade in Pisa, Italy. Presentations were made during the event by Leonardo officials and members of the Italian Airforce on the mission capabilities of the versatile C-27J

A briefing was given by Italian Airforce L. Colonel Simone, providing an overview on the C/MC-27J along with a visit to the aircraft. Eduardo Munhos de Campos, Head of International Sales atLeonardo Aircraft Division presented an overview of the capabilities of the C/MC-27J. Insightful interviews and Q&A sessions were held during the event. A highlight of the tour involved an exciting hands-on, ‘seat-belts on’ experience in a C-27J simulator which provided an awe-inspiring sense of reality with an exceptional variety of modifiable factors such as weather and landing conditions. This event was held at the cusp of Leonardo’s bid for the Turkish airlifter contest, a program with potential Turkish partners such as Aselsan, Havelsan and Roketsan.

Italian Air Force has Twelve C-27Js its Inventory

During the first presentation instructor pilot of the Italian Airforce L. Colonel Simone provided details regarding their mission introduction, history, organization and the fleet of the Italian brigade. The mission capabilities, worldwide operations and a brief overview of relative awards, and the training center were also mentioned.

The C-27J Spartan is the most effective multi-mission airlifter available on the market today. Its capability to operate from the most rudimentary airstrips in extreme environmental conditions cannot be matched by any other twin-engine airlifter. With its exceptional structural strength and systems redundancy, the Spartan offers unique qualities, not found in aircraft of the same class or derived from commercial turboprops: ruggedness, reliability, outstanding survivability and maneuverability.

L. Colonel Simone shared an overview regarding the mission of the Italian brigade, stating that “The mission is to ensure the tactical and strategic air mobility of forces and resources in the areas of national interest through preparation, transportation resupply and recovery of personnel and equipment in the field. He then provided a brief history sharing that the 46 bomber wing was born in 1940 and was located in Pisa. Throughout the years it was converted to an airlift wing and by the end of the second world war, it became an air transport wing In 1953, it became an air brigade and at just the beginning of the 70s we acquired the C130and then in 1977-1979 the G-222 aircraft. In the year 2000 the brigade got the C130J aircraft and then with the arrival of the C-27J the Italian Air Force Pisa Base reach an high level capabilities looking to the future..

The capabilities of the C-27J were touched on as L. Colonel Simone said “We fly our aircraft on emergency transport, personal airdrop and material and we have the capability to do medical evacuation, low level flight and unpaved runway and air to air refueling as a tanker for the C130 as a the receiver for the C-27J.

The last one was in the Philippines which was operated by the C-27J in 2013 for the Typhoon.” He noted that the last peace keeping operation was completed in Afghanistan and Kosovo. The Air brigade is the most awarded unit of the Italian Air force. 

World Class Training Center and Training Program

L. Colonel Simone provided details about their training center stating “This is where we train all of our pilots, technicians and we also cater to our international customers. We have 2 main units: the operation and cooperation unit and the ground training unit. There’s 2 branches which operate on both aircraft. Our primary task is to train pilots and master technicians on both aircraft. We have standardization with our annual exams and continuous review of all procedures, and we elaborate and verify and review the tactics and our training programs. We also develop new deployment of the aircraft, such as the air to air refueling which was our last one.” He continued with his presentation by discussing their collateral activities. “We cooperate with all authorities and major commands and civilian companies for projects of common interest and we operate with the intention to enhance standardization and to review all of our tactics and procedures. We train pilots by dividing them in to levels. We go from basic qualifications pilots coming from the Academy and then we train them until they are combat ready. During the presentation, there were questions from participants regarding training time-frames and L. Colonel Simone elaborated and responded with details “We train them until they are combat ready which happens after a few years of training, after the Academy. From the flight school, it takes about 17 weeks to be trained – this contains the ground course and the simulator course. The flight line course is dependent on weather and many factors that often we cannot control. Typically, it is completed more or less within 6 months to become fully combat ready. Then, after a lot of flight hours they will start the aircraft commander pre-course and after 5-6 years they can become instructor pilots. The same is true for the instructor master and mission capability course as well. We also train international customers here.” He stated that a variety of nations come to the training center for training on both aircraft, such as Australia, the United States and Lithuania, training on the C-27J. They offer a catalogue with all the courses that they provide and the customer can select which one they want. Training is customized and based on pillars, he continued “We also enhance them with mission capabilities to elevate the standards of our training. Our training is based on pillars: we have CBT (computer based training), lessons with an instructor, the second level is civil air training and then finally the flight line training.” He also discussed the state-of-the-art multimedia classrooms and the avionic cockpit flight simulator for the C-27J – C130. 

 C-27J Main Performance from the Perspective of an Operator

L. Colonel Simone also summarized the logistic transport for the brigade stating that they can move 44 boxes 56 cubic meters and 3 meters on the pallets. With the largest cross section in its class, the optimally sized tactical transport capabilities are as follows: Payload (kg) C-27J Payload/Range Loading a 463L standard Pallet (88”x108”x83”) at its maximum capacity and the floor height and inclination can be adjusted. The C-27J can efficiently and safely transport: up to 11,800 kg of payload up to 60 troops 36 litters + 6 medical attendants It can also precisely and safely airdrop: up to 9,000 kg of payload up to 46 paratroopers. The “Spartan” features a ferry range of 3,160 nm. The APU (auxiliary power unit) allows autonomous operations in any conditions without ground support. He noted “We can operate on short and narrow fields, unpaved runways of any kind and NVG night vision goggles we can operate on runways that don’t have lights. We can also do air to air refueling as a receiver from the KC767 of Italian Airforce.”

An impressive Longstanding History of Success in Turkey over the Years Continues as Leonardo Competes in the Tender Process with the C-27J “Spartan”

A detailed presentation on the C/MC-27J Capabilities Overview was provided by Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos, Head of International Sales, Aircraft Division, Leonardo followed by a visit to the C-27J simulator which provided participants an opportunity to experience first-hand the exceptional variety of modifiable factors such as weather and landing conditions that are utilized during training.  

Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos opened by saying “It is a very important moment for us to present the C-27J to the Turkish Press.  We are participating in a competition in Turkey for a transport aircraft. We’ll have to present our proposal for 9 airplanes and we have an indication that the number will increase during the process. It is a very important program for Leonardo and we are serious participating in that aspect. And a special thanks to the Italian Airforce that is receiving us in their home today. The Italian Airforce is our ‘poster child’ for the operation of the C-27J. It is also a main reference for us.”

Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos elaborated on various areas of activity. “With maritime patrol special versions of ATR – we have 50% of ATR shares, but we are the only design responsibility owner to modify the ATR to make the ATR special mission airplanes. We are working today in Turkey with the MILGEM program submarine warfare and transport activity aircraft for Turkey. If you go Torino today, you can see one of the Turkish Airforce airplanes already back in Italy for the full certification of the airplane. It’s a complex program and we are working very close with TAI. TAI makes a major modification to the airplane to install the submarine warfare equipment inside the airplane. We are also delivering airplanes to the Italian Armed forces multi-intelligence airplanes. He discussed the major fighter programs sharing that “We are partners in Eurofighter. We delivered airplane number 500 in April of this year to the Italian Airforce. We have several airplanes for the Italian Airforce in Torino but much more important than that, as Leonardo, we are responsible for 70% of the avionics inside the airplanes. When you think of the Eurofighter in terms of navigation and mission computers, Leonardo is responsible for 70% of the package of the airplane. We are partners in the F35 project. The only assembly line outside of the United States is in Italy, close to Milan. We assemble the airplanes and we have a huge chamber 30 meters high in which we can measure emissions of the airplane inside that chamber. All airplanes based in Europe or flying through Europe from carriers, for example will be supported by our facility close to Milan.”

With an impressive family of trainer aircraft, Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos discussed the company’s success in this area. “Another important part of our work is that Leonardo has been working with training airplanes for more than 60 years now. We are offering to the market today is not only the airplanes but a complete training solution, a lot of simulation together with the airplanes. The first airplane in our family of trainers today is the 345 which is a brand-new airplane and we are already flying one first prototypes and we will be flying the second fully configured airplane next year. The 346 is our very successful advanced trainer airplane. We have airplanes flying in Italy, Singapore, Israel and Poland. Today we’ve been selected by the UAE for 45 airplanes as well, leading edge technology airplane in the world today for advance training in operational units. 

82 Orders by 15 Operators Placed for this Aircraft, all Over the World 

Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos mentioned that “When we talk about the C-27 we first talk about the success of the airplane then technical aspects of the aircraft. We have 15 operators flying in the world today. Out of the 15 operators we have operators flying humanitarian missions and also military combat missions. A variety of missions. Instead of just talking about the airplane itself we also emphasize what our clients are saying about the airplanes, such as Italy, the United States and Australia.”  He responded to a question from the press stating that “78 out of the order of 82 have been delivered.” The latest C-27J customer is Slovakia, which ordered two aircraft. The other customers are Australia (10), the United States (21- 14 used by the Coast Guard and 7 for the Army Special Operations Command-), Italy (12), Greece (8), Romania (7), Morocco (4), Mexico (4), Bulgaria (3), Lithuania (3), Peru (4), Chad (2) and an undisclosed sub-Saharan African country (2). In addition to that Italy, Romania, and the United States also purchased C-27J aircrew training flight simulators from Leonardo’s Aircraft Division.

Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos provided feedback highlights regarding when and why the C-27J was selected by their clients. “Australia had a big fleet of C130s and they bought 10 C-27Js, and the main reason declared by the Australian Airforce is that the C-27J can access over 1,900 airfields compared to around 500 that can be reached by the C130. It can access more than 1,000 additional airfields. Because of the size of the runway, altitude or performance of the airplane the C130 cannot be used, but you can do with the C-27J. One of the main reasons for the selections of the C-27J is that the airplane can operate anywhere in the world. One of the main reasons why the United States selected the airplane is that the C-27J has a superior military operational capability. The C-27J is a real military transport airplane. At Leonardo we say, below the Hercules, the C-27J is the last real military transport airplane. You can land the C-27J anywhere, any runway, ice, snow, stones, sand, you can land anywhere. It is ruggedized and has the performance to operate out of remote areas.”  

C-27J “Spartan” Performs Various Missions with Multi-Role Capabilities 

The Spartan is mission-proven by a number of prestigious Air Forces in tactical transport, disaster relief, “last tactical mile” troop support and Search and Rescue in the world’s most demanding operational environments, including Afghanistan.


Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos discussed the interoperability maneuverability of the airplane saying “it’s not about reaching the area but being able to approach or leave the area very fast, climb rate in/and maneuverability are very important aspects in the airplane, in Italy one of the aspects highlighted is about this. You can fly the airplane as a 30-ton fighter. Night Vision Operations: US special operations and Italian special ops use night vision operations, you can approach any airfield silently and take off from any airfield anywhere without support…Our motto is ‘anytime and everywhere.’ Few airplanes can operate fully with night vision and is certified.

The C-27J displays and lights (cockpit, cargo bay and the external lights) can be switched to “NVG Mode” to operate with GEN III, Type 1 Class B and Class A Night Vision Goggle. He continued by highlighting some of the operations performed by the airplane. “We have operated disaster relief missions in several very extreme conditions such as Equator, Philippines, Mali, Central Africa, Peru and also on several occasions also in the United States. Earlier this year, the U.S. Coast Guard deployed C-27J Spartans to assist in relief following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We did a demo last year with our prototype, we went to Bolivia, La Pas, operating out of 14 thousand feet altitude, we did unprepared runways.” 

He also noted “We did a mission to Antarctica with the C-27J, and we did a mission with the Argentinian Airforce. We flew with 19 people on board and 2 tons of Cargo as an operational mission with the Italian Airforce. Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos discussed commented that “The C27 is in the 12 tons category and smaller than the Transall and the Hercules fly 18-19 tons. It’s a significantly bigger than other airplanes like the 295 or the AM32s. We can fly up to 60 troopers, 46 paratroopers and we have a special missions medivac firefighting in the AP transport. 

Details of the configurability of the aircraft were shared by Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos, noting how quickly the aircraft can be converted from one mission to another. He drew attention to the fact that “A full size ambulance with lights can be driven into the C-27J, for example a Toyota Land Cruiser can be driven into the C-27J. The other airplanes that are participating in the competition in Turkey, they cannot do that. So, it is a matter of what do you want to do with the airplane rather than just analyzing the cost of the airplane.” 

Capabilities of the C-27J Spartan Aircraft

The C-27J has been designed, developed and tested as a military aircraft, and also has obtained civil certification from EASA / FAA in 2010.  

Thanks to its very versatile design, the C-27J is ideal for roles including troop and materials transport, medical evacuation, paratroop and materials airdrops, search and rescue (SAR), logistic supply, humanitarian support, firefighting and civil emergency operations support. Purpose-designed kits also allow VIP transport and other missions.

The Spartan has an unrivalled ability to perform short take-offs and landings (STOL) on snowy, sandy and unprepared airfields. And it is certified to do so. Compared with other military transport aircraft in its class, the C-27J has the best descent and climb rate (4000 and 2,500 ft/min) and can also perform 3 g tactical maneuvers, minimizing its approach phase and reaching a safe altitude more quickly in high threat scenarios.

The Spartan is qualified for extreme temperature conditions and it is capable of carrying its load in very hot and high conditions as already demonstrated in real operations.

The Spartan is a twin-turboprop tactical airlifter with state of the art technologies in avionics, propulsion system and other on-board systems.

The C-27J has a large cargo box, capable of supporting almost 5 tons per square meter. The aircraft can carry pallets or platforms weighing up to 4,550-6,000 kilos, or 60 equipped soldiers, 46 fully equipped paratroops, 36 stretchers and 6 medical attendants or other combinations up to 30,500 kilos maximum takeoff weight.

It offers high operational effectiveness together with competitive costs, extreme flexibility, the best performance in its category in all conditions and unique interoperability with larger airlifters like the C-130 and the A400M. Vehicles can be unloaded from heavier airlifters, loaded on the C-27J and delivered straight to the frontline and austere forward operating bases without repackaging, dismounting parts or deflating tires, increasing safety and mission success. A standard 463L Pallets HCU-6E (88x108x83 in.) can be easily transferred from the C-130 to the C-27J with no reconfiguration thanks to the largest cross section in its class, the highest floor strength per unit length (4,900 kg/m) for the entire and cargo bay length the fully compatible Cargo Handling System. 

The aircraft can operate from airstrips under 500 meters.

The two AE2100-D2/D2A engines are rated at 4,650 SHP. To increase safety and reliability, the avionics architecture is fully redundant and guarantees excellent performance and low pilot workload in whatever environmental condition and all operational theatres. Optional systems include air-to-air refueling, self-protection and head-up displays.

One version of the MC-27J, designed as “Praetorian”, has been jointly developed with ATK for Command, Control, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C3-ISR) mission tasks. It includes state-of-the-art sensors and communication systems controlled by a palletized mission management system.

For VIP transport, on dedicated pallets can be installed: A VIP area with 6 business class single seats and two foldable working tables A VIP/escort passenger’s area with 18 economy class seats. The reconfiguration kits can be stowed on board: self-deploy ability. The VIP/Passengers configuration change can be done in less than one hour . One airplane to a client in South America is delivered that has a VIP kit also can be rolled in the entire section of the cabin inside the transport airplane and it can be converted from Cargo transport to VIP transport. 

The airplane can quickly be reconfigured for Fire Fighting with the “GuardianTM” System has been already tested with the C-27J and permits to airdrop from a safe altitude (500-1,500ft), also at night, 6,000 lt of water/fire retardant on a single passage with no aircraft modification.

Fully Autonomous with APU 

One fundamental feature of the C-27J is its APU, Auxiliary Power Unit, that make the aircraft fully autonomous in operations, also when deployed on remote, austere airfields (important for both the Land Forces and the Police) or when involved in disaster relief operations in hard hit areas, where ground infrastructure and equipment could be damaged or not available. The aircraft’s APU (Auxiliary Power Unit), is fundamental also for flight safety as it can restart the engines in flight or be used as an alternate source of power in case of a problem with an engine. 

Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos providing details and examples stating that “An APU is an auxiliary power unit, an additional engine, a third engine, that is able to generate energy for the airplane. This has 2 main objectives. First is that you can operate in a remote area independently – you start the APU and then you can start the main engines using that as the source of energy. The second important aspect is that if you are doing a military mission and you have an electrical failure you can get the energy that you need for the mission from the APU – so you don’t have to abort your mission because of electrical failure. In some airplanes that don’t have the APU you will have to abort the mission, such as with a generator failure.  Another aspect is the safety for the crew. If you are flying and you have an engine failure, the APU can give you the energy for your cockpit and the basic systems of the airplane even if you have a complex failure such as engine and electrical failure in the airplane – those airplanes fly miles and miles away from the base, over the sea, over the jungle, over the desert. If you are far away from home you need to have a good navigation to return home. Sometimes if you have a combination of electrical and engine failure you need an APU to give you the energy to return back home. These are very important aspects that a military airplane must have. A civil airplane does not have to have that.”

C-27J Provides Optional Ballistic Protection

The Ballistic Protection consists of aramid fiber and ceramic armor panels mounted on the aircraft to provide passive protection against the threat of projectiles from the ground. The following positions are protected by the panels: pilot and co-pilot (locations A and B in the picture) oxygen converters (locations C and D) emergency oxygen bottles (location E). The Ballistic Protection system can be rapidly and easily installed or removed. The Ballistic Protection System, supplied as a kit, is able to protect from the threat of the 7.62 AP or 12.7 AP bullets according to MIL-PRF-46103E. The is also an optional new defensive aids sub-system. A new version of the optional Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS) is available including: Missile Warning System with integrated Laser Warning System (MWS/LWS) Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), if required Chaff & Flare (C/F), 12 dispensers.

Another option that has already been developed for the Italian Air Force is the Air to Air Refueling “Probe & Drogue” System to refuel the C-27J from the AMI KC-767A Tanker. Other than transport, we also have versions of the airplane doing other missions – such as command and control, intelligence, gunship, firefighting, VIP transportation, maritime and ground surveillance.  Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos also discussed the gunship installation “We did an integration of the 30mm cannon, inside the airplane and it has been demonstrated and certified the airplane to fly with the 30mm cannon. No other airplane below the Hercules can fly the 30mm cannon.” Aspects of command and control were presented as well, he shared that “With the electro optic infra-red turret, the mx15 we also did mx20 which is a much bigger turret, the basic concept that we use is roll on roll off, you carry the pallets inside the airplane and you can convert from transport to a special mission in a manner of hours at the base.”  

Turkish Content, Turkish Participation

As the presentation was near closure, Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos answered a variety of questions from participants. There were inquiries as to whether the Turkish requirement was mission specific or for general transport purposes. Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos stated that “The basic requirement is for transport with protection, and self-protection for the airplane.” He also shared that “We received indications from the government that the number may increase during the process. In the discussions, we will have rounds of questionnaires and interactions with SSM (the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries) with the government for clarification, we have a target to clarify all those aspects.

Responding to questions about SSM’s requirement for Turkish content in the airplane in case that the C-27J will be selected, Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos said “We have already several interactions with the industry TAI, Aselsan, Havelsan, and we already have had some preliminary discussions about participation and cooperation. This is part of our strategy for our proposal. It is not finalized yet and it is something that we are working on. Yes, SSM has asked for Turkish participation, and specifically in Aselsan’s case requirement for radio communication, and in the C27 and Leonardo proposal we are fully compliant with the SSM Turkish requirements.” In-country supportability was another point of discussion. Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos stated, “It is our objective to have very important foot print to guarantee supportability of the airplane in country.” Leonardo has an existing joint production model with the T129 “Atak” program. Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos was asked by Mrs. Ayşe Evers to elaborate on the possibility of new joint production or marketing to 3rd parties. In response, he stated “The ‘Atak’ program is a very successful program that we did with Turkey. We are open to discuss cooperation and joint productions with Turkey and that is something that we are still working on. That’s part of our proposal strategy.”

Long Term Plans for the C27

Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos provided the company’s long term plans saying “Today, we are committed for at least another 30 years with the production of the airplane. Which is a requirement of SSM, in their contract we have to commit with supportability of the airplane for another 30 years meaning producing parts. Having an active assembly line for parts for the airplane.”

Responding to an inquiry about interoperability with A400 and C27 Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos said “We have several cases including Italy, Australia, US, that I mentioned before where the C27 is working with the C130, although we don’t have an example working with the A400, but we know the capability of the A400. We know that the only airplane below the Hercules that can receive the package from the C130 or from the A400 and fly to another destination is the C27. Why is this so important? Distribution work can be done fast with the size of the cabin of the C27J. If you have a smaller cabin you will have to unpack and repackage the entire Cargo to upload and fly again. This is a major aspect as far as commonality and synergy with the existing C130 and A400 in Turkey.”

Roketsan Arms Integration

When asked to comment on the integration of Turkish arms on the unarmed version, Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos stated “We are talking about the market now – Roketsan systems can be operated from the C-27J. We designed the airplane to have armed versions according the requirements of the Armed Forces. Roketsan has very capable armament systems and is part of the equipment that we can integrate incase an air force decides to have it. We have already talked with Roketsan, we have gotten all of the details about the armament – not only Roketsan but also from other suppliers – and we have that as a list of options for our guns.”

Before taking the participants to experience the Simulator, Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos noted that the deadline for questions, answers and clarifications between the bidders and Turkey’s procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, or SSM, is Nov. 29 and that the contenders will submit their bids to the Turkish government by Dec. 29, 2017.

Simulator Tour

Excitement was in the air during the simulator tour. Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos commented that “The simulator is a real cockpit of the C-27J – so the students can really feel what it will be like in the aircraft.  Special missions will have more panels but this is the baseline.  We can choose the landing surface, weather conditions.” As he was talking with participants the selected surface of snow cover was activated and participants were impressed, experiencing the simulation in action. Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos described what was possible and simultaneously demonstrated the simulator’s capabilities, saying “We can make 100% snow coverage, and we can change the coverage conditions. If I decrease it…suddenly you will see a change in coloring. We can use night vision, and we can also decide the season which affects the altitude of the moon and sun. We can select a full moon or quarter and at what time and day we want to perform the simulation. You can see the stars (at that time on that day that star will appear there) rain and fog. We can change the wind direction and intensity, and we can change how many meters of visibility there is with the fog. We can also have layers of clouds, unprepared conditions, preformatted runway (grass, desert etc.). A participant asked if an unexpected hostile attack simulation of can be made. Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos responded saying “Yes we do have this type of software to train our force.” Mr. Eduardo Munhos De Campos reminded passengers to wear their seat belts, as the sounds of the aircraft’s engines roared and sounds of sensors attracted attention