Northrop Grumman (ATK) and Leonardo (Alenia Aermacchi) entered into a partnership to develop the MC-27J, a multi-mission aircraft based on the C-27J tactical transport, with a Roll On/Roll Off weapons system. The MC-27J name are designed to cope with the current and future operational scenarios, requiring a flexible, effective and efficient multi-mission aircraft, quickly reconfigurable thanks to modular roll-on/roll-off systems to be, from time to time, a C3-ISR (Command, Control, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), SIGINT (SIGnal INTelligence) or Fire Support asset. The MC-27J mission kits/pallets require minimal airframe modification and offer acquisition and operating costs significantly lower than a dedicated platform.
Northrop Grumman’s palletized weapons system is designed for easy embarkation and disembarkation via the aircraft’s rear ramp; permitting flexibility in the use of the unaltered aircraft. The primary configuration requires minimal impact to the aircraft to significantly reduce acquisition costs and deployment times, while retaining the C-27J’s robust airlift capabilities. This is the only solution offers those missions with a full ISR and gunship roll-on/roll-off capability. The installation of the gun pallet enables direct engagement of enemy targets and direct fire support to ground troops, allowing staying out from most of surface-to-air threats. The aircraft is equipped with advanced electro-optic sensors, Orbital ATK’s side-mounted GAU-23 30mm cannon and precision-guided weapon systems to limit collateral damage. The GAU-23 gun can be operated remotely from the front of the aircraft using a sophisticated mission system.
The MC-27J is an adaptable and affordable solution to the various airborne multi-mission requirements fulfilled today by a wide variety of specialized and dedicated aircraft. It offers payload, persistence and out of area capabilities coupled with commonality of equipment and systems with larger multi-mission platforms but at much lower operational costs and with the operational flexibility of being able to operate form shorter runways also in hot and high conditions. A MC-27J in C3-ISR (Command, Control, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) configuration can put its superior survivability, performances and endurance to good use on any battlefield, providing persistent area monitoring, mission oversight and coordination and establishing communication/video gateways.
The MC-27J is not just a gunship, but a battlefield tested platform equipped with proven mission system and weapons suites able to execute a wide range of customer-driven missions. The MC-27J sensors/communications/weapons suite is a combination of proven commercial and military off-the-shelf subsystems that provide a modular and reconfigurable capability with minimal aircraft integration. It provides Special Forces a platform with quick transfer speed; long operational range and ample cargo capacity, and is capable of taking off from and landing on short and/or unprepared strips while acting as an autonomous command and control center integrated with the ground command network. The MC-27J will also provide Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) capability as well as the ability to deploy paratroopers. Furthermore, the MC-27J’s target designation and on-board weapons systems provide outstanding support for ground operations.