The first of two MC-235 gunships, modified from transports by Alliant Techsystems (ATK). and Jordan's King Abdullah Design & Development Bureau (KADDB), has completed its U.S. testing, including gun firing, and will be delivered to Jordan this month, according to ATK. The second is due to follow in April, and the aircraft will enter service following missile-firing tests and crew training.
ATK says the MC-235 will be the first fixed-wing gunship to be delivered to an operational user from an international program. (The company also is involved in the Alenia-led MC-27J project.) It is armed with a side-firing ATK M230 30-mm chain gun, as used on the AH-64 Apache, located aft of the wing, and has stub wings with four hardpoints for AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or 2.75-in. rocket pods.
An ATK-developed sensor-and-weapon-system operator console is installed in the cabin. The avionics system is designed to be sensor-agnostic, the company says. KADDB has selected the L-3 Wescam MX-15 electro-optical turret, including infra-red and high-definition TV sensors and a laser designator, and theI-Master radar, which combines synthetic aperture radar and ground-moving-target-indicator functions. The MC-235 has a self-protection suite including ATK's AAR-47 missile approach-warning system and ' chaff-flare dispenser and infrared countermeasures units.
According to ATK, the MC-235 (or the same system installed on the larger C295) is attracting international interest and fits in a different market slot from the MC-27J, which is larger and carries a heavier, longer-range gun. The MC-27J is a multirole system with roll-on, roll-off weapons and mission station, while the MC-235 is a permanent modification. KADDB is leading marketing in the Middle East/North Africa region and the two companies are discussing plans for other world markets.