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Leonardo “We have What Turkey Needs” with the C-27J Spartan

“Win-Win Partnerships Built on Trust’’

Leonardo’s Mr. Fabio Cortese Aircraft Division Marketing & Sales Head of Turkey Sales, Mr. Italo Rossini Aircraft Division Marketing & Sales Regional Manager Middle East and North Africa and Mr. David Gourlay, Miysis DIRCM Campaign Manager Leonardo Airborne & Space Systems division met with Defence Turkey Magazine at the IDEF 2017 Exhibition to discuss; Leonardo’s long tradition of partnership with Turkey, the participation of the C-27J “Spartan” aircraft in the tender for the procurement of a tactical transport aircraft, and insight into Leonardo’s Directed Infrared Countermeasure System.

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

Mr. Cortese shared “We’ve had a good program and partnership for many years, focusing on the aeronotic, even with the procurement of the SX260, back in 1990. We have the contract for the ATR-72-600 for the Turkish Navy, and we have already provided 2 aircraft and will provide the others in the next years. Currently there is a tender for the procurement of a tactical transport aircraft where we will participate with our C-27J aircraft. He continued to elaborate saying that “We as Leonardo aircraft are fully engaged in the recent bid issued by SSM, regarding the supply of 9 transport aircraft 6 for the landforces and 3 for the police. We understood also that also following this bid there is a chance that the number of aircraft would be increased, so we are very much interested and we are proposing our best product which is the C-27J that fully fullfills all the turkish requirements. The aircraft is a military transport aircraft. I say military because I want to stress the fact that it is not only an aircraft designed for military specifications, but also performance of this plane can be considered military because it can opperate in the real military environment. It’s a proven combat aircraft, it has been operated in different areas in the world and hostile environments and it is possible thanks to its characteristics. Characteristics such as the ability to take off and land on a short and unprepared runways, without ground support equipment because the aircraft is autonomous, it is equipped with an Auxillary Power Unit. The APU can be used in the case of emergency that can happen in the military environment, it can be used also in-flight to generate electrical power. The aircraft has very powerful Rolls-Royce engines which allow the engine to climb away from the ground in a very short period of time. It needs to be able to avoid the ground quickly. it can climb at a rate of 2500 feet per minute or it can descend quickly at a rate of 4000 feet per minute. It is also important to note that the aircraft is fully compatible with the bigger transport aircraft. I mention this because the cooperation for example in NATO areas together with other countries, you have the big transport aircraft arriving to what is called the main operating base and then from the main operating base the smaller tacticle aircraft which can move very easily and reach very remote locations which are called the forward operating bases. This task is performed with the maximum efficiency by the C-27J.”

Capabilities of the C-27J Spartan Aircraft

The C-27J 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.

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

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 C-27J has a large cargo box, capable of supporting almost 5 tons per square metre. 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 or other combinations up to 30,500 kilos maximum takeoff weight.

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.

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

Mr. Fabio Cortese provided an overview regarding the multi-role capabilities saying “The C-27J has been specifically designed to be a military aircraft and the aircraft has been conceived since the begining as a modular solution.There is a platform that can be equipped with different mission equipment to perform different missions.  Starting from the simplest such as transport, troop transport, paratroop transport, medivac, to the more sophisticated versions that we have developed some versions with C3, ISR equipment, and also we have developed an armored version for special forces which is equipped with command control and very powerful gun which is unique in this field. There are several uses for this aircraft. We have the VIP version which is used to transport VIP on the field in locations where you cannot go with your beautiful business jet and you need to go with a strong aircraft like the C-27J and you can modify in a very short time on the base, the aircraft can become a VIP version. We have a module that is roll on roll off.”

More than 80 Orders Placed for this Aircraft, all Over the World 

The latest C-27J customer is Slovakia, which ordered two aircraft. Other customers are Australia, (10 aircraft), the United States (21, including 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). Italy, Romania, and the United States also purchased C-27J aircrew training flight simulators from Leonardo’s Aircraft Division.

The feedback is good and appetite for this aircraft is increasing worldwide. Mr. Cortese provided a recap of their growing customer base, saying “We have more than 80 aircraft ordered, starting obviously with the Italian Airforce, then Greece, several european customers, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, then we expanded to North Africa with Morocco, then South America with Mexico. We had a big order from Australia, the aircraft has been selected by the Royal Australian Airforce (which is continuously giving us a lot of appreciation of the aircraft and good feedback) and it has been selected originally for the joint cargo aircraft in the US and now this same aircraft has been transferred to the US Coast guard.

Cooperation with Local Turkish Partners for the Development of Critical technologies to Meet Local Specific Requirements is Key Fact

With a win-win aproach to partnership, Mr. Cortese commented on Leonardo’s strategy related to technology transfer “As Leonardo as a company we have a long tradition of cooperation, such as the famous programs as T129 “Atak” Helicopter and “Göktürk” Satellite, and in the case of this bid we are talking now with all of the main partners in Turkey in order to identify the collaboration which gives the best techonological transfer and obviously the economical return.

We have a product that is the base and on this base we can develop together the real needs for the country. If there are specific requirements we find out the way to have a local partner helping us in developing the local specific requirements.” 

Participation of Local Content – Leonardo’s Approach for Turkish Partners

The offset rate obligation is very important for Turkey. SSM has strategic priorities to achieve the sustainability of the defense industry, achieving maturity in program management and  developing technological competence. The Offset ratio now is at 70%. Mr. Cortese discussed what the company desires in terms of partnership approach in Turkey for the C-27J Spartan in this respect “Obvioulsy, we know this is a demanding requirement for Turkey. We want to offer something that is not just production of simple parts, but as I said we want to involve local partners in developing some new configurations, new capability for the platform and for this reason we are trying to expand our discussion not only to the well known main counterparts in Turkey but we also want to involve SMEs 

Leonoardo Offers the Direct Infrared Countermeasure System to Intercept the MANPADS Threats

Following the candid and very informative discussions with Mr. Cortese, the Miysis DIRCM (Directed Infrared Countermeasure) System was and discussed in detail. Mr. David Gourlay – Miysis DIRCM Campaign Manager Airborne & Space Systems provided insightful facts about the Leonardo DIRCM’s unique capabilities.

Mr. Gourlay said “The Miysis DIRCM (Directed Infrared Countermeasure) System provides dependable, persistent protection from IR-guided missiles, including advanced, all-aspect Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) missiles. This is to protect aircraft against MANPADS, a very prolific threat at the moment, very real to Turkey being so close to the action, so this is on your mind at the moment from a governmental view, not only the military aircraft but also important aircraft for government officials as well. It is important to note about the Leonardo DIRCM is the experience and knowledge which has gone into the system to make it capable of defeating the most advanced threats, but also it’s the smallest, so if you buy this system you can fit it to a small helicopter which may be on a very important mission, CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) mission or a very crucial military mission. It weighs 15 kg. The overall system is the smallest and lightest DIRCM available but there is no compromise on performance. It’s the hightest performing DIRCM system.  

When the missile warning system thinks a MANPADS is coming, it tells the DIRCM to point to the right direction and will track the MANPADS and send a jamming code by using a lazer (tracker system and lazer system) and it confuses it and physically destroys the MANPAD and causes it to crash. In terms of our capability, were not talking about just making the missile miss, we’re talking about making the missile crash, because our threat, our enemy, particularly for a high importance aircraft which they plan an attack against, it fires several, so in our technology at Leonardo we have made this very small, the latest technology. The older American systems that we made a pointer tracker for they’re a bit bigger, a bit slower. This is exceptionally fast. It’s all about speed and power. It can track multiple threats simultaneously.”  

World Leading DIRCM 

Mr. Gourlay noted that the Leonardo DIRCM is a UK product, saying “We do not use a license for anyone, it is designed and manufactured in the UK. It’s a Leonardo product made designed in Edinburgh, UK. The only government who decides on export is the UK government. They’re very supportive. It’s built in Edinburgh because we have built 2,300 pointer trackers for Northrop Grumman in the past and we are still building. We build 50 lazers a month in Edinburgh for the F16, F18, F35 for the target pods. We know how to build pointed trackers, we’re world leading, and world leading lazers, so put the two together and you have a world leading DIRCM.”

Discussions on the DIRCM Device with Turkey

Mr. Gourlay stated that Turkey has had discussions with Leonardo regarding the DIRCM, stating “Yes, very much.  Turkey as I said is closer than many to the threat. They also have a very capable Armed Forces and they understand the threat. I think they’re very interested. This can be used on any platform or any aircraft for governments only. It is sold only for governmental use. The system is now in production for our launch customer which is a NATO customer. It would be nice to have another NATO customer. It is far superior protection than flare systems which are undoubtedly cheaper, but if you need to protect your platform against the biggest threats. It’s completely autonomous.The best thing that a pilot can do is nothing (it’s very difficult for me to say because I used to fly in the Royal Airforce) let this system do the job, the pilot needs to fly the aircraft and know that the system is working. The flare systems will not provide the required protection against the MANPADS that we’ve all seen in Syria, they’re advanced threats. Range is not a problem, it will destroy the target as soon as it is identified. We recommend at least 2 heads, if you have an important enough aircraft or an important enough mission you want to make sure you are covered all around. This system can be used with UAVs – any airborne platform – if the customer decides it is necessary to have the top best level protection against MANPADS, this can be integrated. When you start to move towards unmanned platforms, space and weight is at a premium. You’re coming to the smallest and lightest DIRCM in the world. There are other DIRCMs in the world, but this is the smallest, lightest, but importantly it has the energy to kill the most advanced MANPADS, you need the power for the lazer. As I’ve mentioned, we have sold this to a NATO customer. We are expecting to sell next year to non NATO countries. The UK government and the American government made a big investment in DIRCM in about 2004-2005 when they fitted many aircraft with this particularly for Afghanistan, and I see Turkey as the next country to realize that DIRCM as a standard is the way forward. The sentiment yesterday from the UK government sends a good signal about advanced military technology from the UK going to Turkey.  

With everyone in full agreement that the most important asset is the crew, not just the aircraft, the level of protection that this DIRCM provides was reinforced with comments from Mr. Cortese as he stated “The DIRCM is the best way to protect assets, the crew of the aircraft.  It’s a very different level of protection.” 

Looking forward toward new partnerships and new business, Mr. Cortese concluded by stating “We are open to collaborate.  We expect to have exportability now. We have been encouraged by the UK MOD External Letter to your country, for the furthering cooperation, training, education.” 

Mr. Gourlay underlined the suitability of the DIRCM product by saying “We have a DIRCM system which is very competative, but crucially for Turkey with such a wide requirement, it’s suitable for all of the platforms from small to large.”