Leonardo Unveils Next-generation Spartan

 - November 12, 2020, 12:11 PM
The C-27J Next Generation introduces performance-enhancing winglets and a new avionics suite compliant with future air traffic requirements. The first example is currently in the final stages of flight test. (Photo: Leonardo)

Leonardo has begun the final phase of testing a new version of the proven Spartan that it is calling the C-27J Next Generation and that becomes the baseline production configuration. The company is scheduled to deliver the first of two examples of the military transport aircraft to an undisclosed customer next year.

At the heart of the improved C-27J is an enhanced avionics suite that complies with next-generation air traffic control requirements, to ensure that the aircraft remains fully capable of operating in future airspace and to further enhance safety levels. Systems such as FANS 1/A+ datalink, TCAS 7.1, Cat III instrument landing system, and enhanced video terrain avoidance and warning system are included.

A new weather radar is installed, and the cockpit displays, intercom system, radio navigation, cargo control panel, and intercom system are also new. LED lighting is fitted in the cabin. The aircraft features enhanced satellite communications capabilities. It is equipped with Mode 5 IFF/ADS-B Out, and tactical vertical navigation and search and rescue autopilot modes are available. The avionics and systems interfaces are all new. Most noticeable of the aerodynamic improvements are drag-reducing winglets, which enhance short take-off and landing performance as well as improve cruise economy.

“The enhanced C-27J brings the unrivaled quality and capabilities of the Spartan to the next, higher level," said Marco Zoff, managing director of Leonardo’s Aircraft Division. “Its operators will benefit from modern avionics, increased performance, and efficiency.”

The C-27J currently serves with the air arms of Australia, Bulgaria, Chad, Greece, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Slovakia, and Zambia. The U.S. Air Force also bought the type but subsequently handed them over to the Coast Guard and the Army’s Special Operations Command following budget cuts.