The testing campaign took place at Pratica di Mare airbase, near Rome, in collaboration with the 14° Stormo (Wing), Alenia Aermacchi, Rolls Royce and Dowty, the latter two responsible respectively for the engines and propellers of the aircraft.
The flight tests were conducted at various altitudes, between 10,000 and 20,000 feet, and speed up to 220 knots, and also included night aerial refueling with the aid of Night Vision Goggles as well as plugs with the refueling basket in turbulence and during emergency descent.
The C-27J during AAR as seen from the KC-767 Air Refueling Station
According to Alenia Aermacchi “the preliminary results highlighted the exceptional flying quality of the C-27J, in both the day and night contacts. The test confirmed the high capability of fuel transfer (up to 2800 litersmin) predicted in the planning phase, allowing for a complete replenishment of the tanks in only 5 minutes. Also confirmed during these test was the superior quality of the C-27J as an aircraft receiver also in conditions of slipstream turbulence generated by the tanker.”
The aircraft used for these tests, piloted by Alenia Aermacchi test aircrew, was modified with the integration of a complex instrumentation dedicated to controlling the engine parameters, propellers, transfer of fuel and flight controls, in order to meet the requirements requested by the military certification.
The objective of these test was to achieve the certification of the in-flight refueling system, that has been adopted on the 12 C-27Js in service with the 46^ Brigata Aerea (Air Brigade) in Italy and on one of the three examples in service with the Lithuanian Air Force.
Image courtesy: Alenia Aermacchi
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