By design, the AC-235 is equipped with a side-mounted 30mm M230LF automatic cannon.

Introduce

The Fixed-Wing Gunship is a unique weapon, typical of the success was the AC-130 series, which began to develop in the Vietnam War. First appeared on the Vietnam battlefield in 1967, AC-130 destroyed thousands of vehicles of the North Vietnamese army. Because of the modification from C-130 transport aircraft, AC-130 retains many characteristics such as appearance, flight ceiling, range and transport capacity.

The aircraft was designed for fire reinforcements, supporting ground special operations. It was equipped with a powerful sensor system that allows simultaneous attack of 2 targets.

In the face of the AC-130’s success on the battlefield, many countries are stepping up the development of armed variants based on transport aircraft. The transport aircraft versions that were converted into Gunship and light attack aircraft developed by ATK have received considerable attention from a number of Asia-Pacific countries.

According to John Scheiner, ATK’s Vice President, some countries in the region have shown a special interest in Gunship variants, with some discussions underway. The AC-235 is an air fire support aircraft based on the CN-235 airframe following the development of the famous US AC-130.

AC-235 Fixed-Wing Gunship
AC-235 Fixed-Wing Gunship

The design was developed in collaboration with the US Defense company Orbital ATK and King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau of Jordan, under a contract signed in 2011.

According to Jane’s Defense Weekly, at the 2014 SOFEX international air show, held in Amman, Jordan. The Royal Jordanian Air Force has for the first time introduced two AC-235 aircraft that will be put into service with Jordan’s special task force. Brad Hayes, business director of ATK, said that the success of the project was a pride not only for ATK but also for Jordan’s defense industry. He also said that this is the first armed model that the company provides to foreign customers that are not the US Army.

Armament

AC-235 is classified as a light gunship. By design, the AC-235 is equipped with a side-mounted 30mm M230LF automatic cannon. In addition, it is also equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire laser-guided anti-tank missiles and 70mm rockets.

The AC-235 is equipped with two General Electric CT7 turboprop engines with a capacity of 1,750 horsepower. This allows it to reach a maximum speed of 450km/h with a service ceiling of 7,620m, effective range of more than 4,300km.

Sensor and Electronic systems

Regarding electronics, the AC-235 is equipped with I-Master radar system manufactured by Thales, along with the L-3 Wescam MX-15 photoelectric sensor system. The above systems will help the AC-235’s weapons to identify the exact target during the operation.

In addition, it is equipped with AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning System to deal with various types of missiles and ground air defense.

In addition to AC-235, Italy’s Aermacchi Alenia recently carried out a test flight of the MC-27J fire support aircraft, which was developed based on the C-27J transport platform. In particular, this development program also has a partnership with ATK.

Operators

Currently, many countries around the world are paying a great deal of attention to reconnaissance and fire support aircraft converted from transport aircraft. In addition to the upgraded aircraft with quite high cost such as AC-235 or MC-27J, there are some other options with lower cost. For example, Yemen and Lebanon as these countries are upgrading their Cessna C-208 Grand light transport aircraft to the AC-208 version, at a lower cost for retrofitting Hellfire guided missile and monitoring system. Yemen’s determination to build the AC-208 squadron came from the success of this upgraded version on the Iraqi battlefield, when the Iraqi Army proved its capabilities.

ATK said that the conversion of transport aircraft into armed versions became attractive thanks to the multitasking capabilities of these aircraft. This is especially true for the Asia-Pacific region, where not many countries in the region are eligible to deploy specialized aerial combat vehicles.

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