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Alenia Considers C-27J Stretch & Derivatives  
User currently offlineR2rho From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2681 posts, RR: 1
Posted (7 years 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 11466 times:

Selected extracts from the article:

PublishDate : 09/10/2007
SourceName : Aviation Week & Space Technology

Eager to build on the international success the C-27J has garnered to date, Alenia Aeronautica officials are drawing up plans for derivatives for the small tactical transport that could see the cargo hauler pressed into a number of new roles.

Special operations, signals intelligence and airborne early warning roles could all be accomplished with the stretched version.

The goal would be to broaden the customer base, a group that already includes Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania and the U.S.

The stretch would be achieved by inserting a double airframe “plug,” each 1.5 meters long (adding three frames) forward and rearward of the wing, extending the fuselage by 3 meters (9.8 ft.). The fuselage change translates into a cabin length of 11.6 meters, compared with the current 8.5,

The larger fuselage would accommodate 64 troops (using three rows of seats) or 46 paratroops when using the airborne assault seating layout. Currently, 46 troops or 34 paratroops can be carried by the basic aircraft. In a cargo role, the stretched aircraft would be able to transport four full 2.2 X 2.7-meter pallets. Floor strength and volume density is not a limiting factor due to the inherent strength of the structural design. The stretched aircraft is to have the same payload as the standard version, 9 tons, while the maximum take-off weight will increase to 32,650 kg. (71,980 lb.) from the current 31,800-kg. limit.

What is still uncertain is if any of these grandiose plans will lead to a significant increase in the aircraft order book or merely add pages to a C-27J presentation.



Seems that the recent JCA win has made Alenia euphoric about the aircraft's possibilities. Even a side cannon-equipped version has been studied. The stretch version aeems feasible and would counter one of the advantages the C-295 has over the C-27J (it can carry more pallets). The C-27 will work great in the special ops role, I'm sure, but I'm not too confident about a SIGINT/AEW version. But if the C-27J really is the "Baby Herc" as they call it, it may yet prove very versatile.

I wonder what EADS will do about this, if anything. The CN-235 / C-295 are both excellent tactical aircraft in my opinion, but EADS has been lacking ambition on these programs - quite the opposite to Alenia. Perhaps they just have their hands too full on the A400M to worry about them.

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29802 posts, RR: 58
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 11428 times:

That strech would start putting it in competition with the short body versions of the Herk.


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User currently offlineMark5388916 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 11408 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 1):

My concern as well.



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User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4880 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 11408 times:

Quoting R2rho (Thread starter):

Special operations, signals intelligence and airborne early warning roles could all be accomplished with the stretched version.

I'm curious as to what prevents the current model from being used in those roles. Would all the electronics demand a significantly bigger platform and increased power source not feasible with the standard version?

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Photo © Alfredo La Marca - SpotIT



Quoting R2rho (Thread starter):
What is still uncertain is if any of these grandiose plans will lead to a significant increase in the aircraft order book or merely add pages to a C-27J presentation.


Seems that the recent JCA win has made Alenia euphoric about the aircraft's possibilities.

The many potential applications do add to the aircraft's marketability, although the prospect of a stretch so early in its immature life may dampen interest due to the associated risks and cost increases. OTOH, Alenia might be biting more than it could chew only if they're doing it alone.

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Photo © Jakub Michalak



Quoting R2rho (Thread starter):
Even a side cannon-equipped version has been studied.

This is indispensable if it's going to be deployed as a mini-gunship, but maybe only practical when limited to the 25mm GAU-12 Gatling gun and 30mm Bushmaster cannon.....

http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2007/q2/070427a_pr.html


Quoting L-188 (Reply 1):
That strech would start putting it in competition with the short body versions of the Herk.

That could be the prime motivation, considering that Alenia is teamed up on the Spartan with Boeing, who has nothing in the C-130's size range.



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineR2rho From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2681 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 11283 times:

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 3):
I'm curious as to what prevents the current model from being used in those roles. Would all the electronics demand a significantly bigger platform and increased power source not feasible with the standard version?

Well, in the SIGINT role, size does matter. The idea is to put a big electronic warfare pod on struts above the fuselage. I guess that must require a stretch version. Otherwise, for Special Ops, probably the current version is best.

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 3):
OTOH, Alenia might be biting more than it could chew only if they're doing it alone.

True, Alenia is punching above its weight after the confidence they gained with the JCA win, but if they team up with another manufacturer they could pull it off.


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4880 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 week 6 days ago) and read 11270 times:

Quoting R2rho (Reply 4):
Well, in the SIGINT role, size does matter. The idea is to put a big electronic warfare pod on struts above the fuselage. I guess that must require a stretch version.

They managed that in these comparatively small platforms.....

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Photo © Simon Curtis
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Photo © Trevor Mulkerrins


http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...ed-hawkeye-makes-first-flight.html

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...lls-out-e2-d-advanced-hawkeye.html



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4880 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 11219 times:

More photos of the ISAF Nachshon variant.....

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Photo © Ronen eckstein
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Photo © Jose Muñoz - Iberian Spotters


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Photo © Erezms
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Photo © Royi Sher - TLVAviation



.....and Hawkeyes in air force use.....

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Photo © S. H. Yang


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Photo © Andreas Zeitler - Flying-Wings


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Photo © J.L.B. van der Wolf




"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineCurt22 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 335 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 11207 times:

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 3):
This is indispensable if it's going to be deployed as a mini-gunship, but maybe only practical when limited to the 25mm GAU-12 Gatling gun and 30mm Bushmaster cannon.....

Gunship??? Gunship??? Now where would one get such a silly idea?


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4880 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 11203 times:

Quoting Curt22 (Reply 7):
Gunship??? Gunship??? Now where would one get such a silly idea?

Here.....

Quoting R2rho (Thread starter):

Special operations,

http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/support/maintenance/ac130u.html

AC-130U GUNSHIP

Quote:
"Under a contract awarded in 1987, Boeing manufactures and supports the AC-130U Gunship aircraft for the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command. The AC-130U represents a major advancement over previous generation gunships. Existing C-130 airframes receive the latest sensor technologies and fire control systems that, together, substantially increase the gunship's combat effectiveness. The AC-130U features increased weapon stand-off range, improved first-shot accuracy, and a state-of-the-art suite of electronic and infrared countermeasures that greatly enhance the AC-130U's survivability against modern threats. The AC-130U design also incorporates features to enhance maintainability and supportability."


They probably thought they could sell a smaller version.



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineR2rho From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2681 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 11165 times:

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 5):
They managed that in these comparatively small platforms.....

True, true. But remember the Embraer 145 was rejected for the Aerial Common Sensor program because it was deemed to small a platform. I'm not claiming that you can't fit SIGINT equipment on realtively small aircraft! Sure you could fit SIGINT equipment onto a C-27J as it is now, but maybe they're thinking about something bigger that would need a stretch. Don't ask me, I was just quoting the article!  Wink

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 8):
"Under a contract awarded in 1987, Boeing manufactures and supports the AC-130U Gunship aircraft for the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command.

Funny that Boeing does the gunship conversion - it's a Lockheed aircraft! I'm sure they don't like this...
But there's a good example of how Alenia could pull this off: team up with their partners on the JCA program to develop the different versions.


User currently offlineCurt22 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 335 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 11156 times:

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 8):
They probably thought they could sell a smaller version.

I'm quite aware of the AFSOC Gunships...was just being sarcastic in the comment of a smaller "Gunship Lite"...

Good to see Alenia thinking about this application...I'm sure someone (hint-hint) will be interested in such a concept.


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4880 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 11115 times:

Quoting R2rho (Reply 9):

True, true. But remember the Embraer 145 was rejected for the Aerial Common Sensor program because it was deemed to small a platform. I'm not claiming that you can't fit SIGINT equipment on realtively small aircraft!

In hindsight, I think Embraer and LockMart rushed their choice of candidate by going with the most expedient and least expensive option. They miscalculated the amount of equipment and sophistication that the combined requirements of the beneficiary services would entail. Embraer might have missed the boat there by not offering a beefed-up E-170, and LockMart by overlooking (intentionally due to the P-7?) the possibilities in acquiring Dornier's 728 (which had an AEW&C version under study) or 928 program.

Quoting R2rho (Reply 9):
Sure you could fit SIGINT equipment onto a C-27J as it is now, but maybe they're thinking about something bigger that would need a stretch.

A smaller SIGINT aircraft may yet come to pass with the Army intent on going it alone with its stopgap "blocked systems concept" of mature technologies for eventual consolidation in the ultimate B738 SIGINT platform in the long term.....

http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell...ws/2007/intell-070329-arnews01.htm

Quote:
"'The Army remains committed to ACS (Aerial Common Sensor) to meet current and emerging reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition requirements,' said Col. John Burke, deputy director, Army Aviation, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans at the Pentagon.

[.....]

Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Richard A. Cody approved the development of an ACS blocked requirements and acquisition strategy March 16. By blocking the acquisition, the ACS capability can achieve the full system's performance by taking advantage of mature payloads early and then integrating those in development when prudent, he said."


The prop vs jet argument might also figure in the equation. The Spartan as it is, has significantly more internal volume and exterior real estate than the E-145 and more power and optional fuel capacity for longer loiter time.....

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Photo © Alan Lebeda


Likely drawbacks are signal disruptions that might be posed by the protuding main landing gear housings on the sensor pod, ground clearance, interference from the props and the need for longer antenna separation between the tailfin and front of the aircraft. These, BTW, are just my layman's observations and not backed by true technical knowledge.

Quoting R2rho (Reply 9):

Funny that Boeing does the gunship conversion - it's a Lockheed aircraft! I'm sure they don't like this...

The current team-up is just history repeating itself - as LockMart was Alenia's original partner in the C-27J development!  yes 

Quoting Curt22 (Reply 10):
I'm quite aware of the AFSOC Gunships...was just being sarcastic in the comment of a smaller "Gunship Lite"... Good to see Alenia thinking about this application...I'm sure someone (hint-hint) will be interested in such a concept.

I even suspect you're flying one, given the Spectre poster on your profile. It just occurred to me that you might view a specops Spartan as a threat to Boeing's own Osprey. Glad to see you dropping the hints.  thumbsup 



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineCurt22 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 335 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 11044 times:

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 11):
I even suspect you're flying one, given the Spectre poster on your profile. It just occurred to me that you might view a specops Spartan as a threat to Boeing's own Osprey. Glad to see you dropping the hints.

Threat??? Nah....(I have a Spectre in my profile??? must have been drunk at the time!)

C-27 looks to be a good, solidly build ship, and as a conventional fixed wing acft, I think it will surpass the V-22 in many ways, but not in the "hovering" way of course!

I think the Army/AF selection of this machine was a good one, and yes, perhaps SOF may find a useful roll for the Spartan in the future.

Looking forward to seeing a cool little aircraft go to work...and perhaps, take a bit of the wind out of the sails of the conspiracy theory folks who think the US Govt cannot accept an EU built machine.


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4880 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (7 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 10920 times:

Quoting Curt22 (Reply 12):

Threat??? Nah.... C-27 looks to be a good, solidly build ship, and as a conventional fixed wing acft, I think it will surpass the V-22 in many ways, but not in the "hovering" way of course!

Well, I doubt Boeing would be clumsy enough to shoot themselves in the foot by promoting an overly capable and versatile Spartan. However, I couldn't help thinking that the very first combat loss (most assuredly not wishing for one - just a risk that comes with the role) of a very "expensive and sophisticated" Osprey would send people rushing to find more suitable and cheaper "expendable" metal.

Quoting Curt22 (Reply 12):
I think the Army/AF selection of this machine was a good one, and yes, perhaps SOF may find a useful roll for the Spartan in the future.

At the same time reviving the inter-service intramurals. Although it seems this latest development is bearing out the AW&ST's points at the thread's start.....

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...o-aircraft-we-have-a-winner-03372/

Quote:
"[The C-27J] a rugged, reliable airplane, and it’ll do wonders for short-range airlift. That is, if the services can stop fighting over the plane and focus on getting it into service. You see, no sooner had the so-called 'Joint Cargo Aircraft' program picked up steam than the Air Force started calling into question the very notion of the Army having its own fixed-wing planes. Now Congress has entered the fray, slicing one of the first four C-27s from the budget and asking for more 'roles and missions' studies…."

Quoting Curt22 (Reply 12):
Looking forward to seeing a cool little aircraft go to work..

Like small iterations of these.....
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Photo © Carlos Alberto Rubio Herrera
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Photo © Jonathan Derden - Spot This!

The BAe Systems retracting belly gun turret proposed for the Osprey might also work for a Spartan version of the second photo.

[Edited 2007-10-21 20:47:53]

[Edited 2007-10-21 20:50:57]


"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 14, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 10726 times:

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 5):
They managed that in these comparatively small platforms.....

I believe that the consideration many overlook in the discussion about sigint platforms is the number of operaters and controllers that can be stationed on the aircraft. The original equipment required larger aircraft and thus the number of people one could hold was no problem. However, with the reduction in the size of electronics and their associated support equipment we can put alot more computing power in significantly less space than was possible when the current generation of E series airplanes were designed. So now we have to find room onboard for the operators and their support equipment (i.e. lavs, galleys, rest areas etc).



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4880 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 10640 times:

Quoting DL021 (Reply 14):
However, with the reduction in the size of electronics and their associated support equipment we can put alot more computing power in significantly less space than was possible when the current generation of E series airplanes were designed. So now we have to find room onboard for the operators and their support equipment (i.e. lavs, galleys, rest areas etc).

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...IR_S100B_Argus_AEWC_Cutaway_lg.jpg

Comparing the Spartan's interior with that of smaller Saab 340-based Argus suggests that indeed more equipment and control stations could be fitted in. But given miniaturization and the trend of putting ISR payloads on board UAVs, maybe that would leave adequate space for the amenities, considering it would just be a limited-theater platform?

http://www.c-27j.com/essential-facts

Meanwhile, the Italian air force demonstrates the Spartan's easy interoperability with Lockheed's C-130 Hercules.....

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...tes-c-27j-c-130j-capabilities.html



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4880 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 9812 times:

Update:

Although the program elicits mixed reactions, it appears that AFSOC's interest was more than superficial.....

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...o-aircraft-we-have-a-winner-03372/

A Great Big Bunch Of You: Contracts and Key Events

Quote:
"Feb 14/08: Perhaps the forced conversion of the C-27J to a joint program was a serious mistake. Aviation Week reports that studies contend the USAF will have little use for the C-27J, though the US Army needs it. .....

Meanwhile, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) wants to turn the C-27J into a light gunship that can get in and out of small landing strips, and has placed $74.8 million for 2 C-27Bs in its FY 2008 unfunded requirements list. Gunships can be huge difference-makers in counterinsurgency firefights, and the request would see AFSOC gain new light transports 2 years ahead of schedule."


This.....

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/images/AIR_C-27J_lg.jpg

.....turned into something like this?.....
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/images/AIR_HH-47_Concept_lg.jpg
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/images/AIR_HH-47_Concept_lg.jpg



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
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