During the Dubai airshow 2013, Alenia Aermacchi (a Finmeccanica Company) and the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) signed an agreement to provide development, testing, certification, industrialization and logistic support of the specialized version of the MC-27J known as Praetorian.
The Praetorian, is a specialized version of the MC-27J, that will support missions for the Italian Special Forces, Comando Operativo Forze Speciali (COFS).
Among the supported configurations one of the most interesting is the Fire Support one, that sees a Spartan cargo plane transformed into a Gunship (a mini-AC-130 Spectre) equipped with a side GAU-23 30 mm gun.
Still, of particular interest for the Italian Air Force are those that envisage the Spartan equipped with Communications Intelligence (COMINT), EO/IR (Electro optical/Infra-red) sensors for ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance), Border Surveillance, Command and Control missions.
“The Italian Air Force plan to transform three C-27J’s, currently in service, into the Praetorian configuration during 2016 and will include mission systems, C3ISR equipment and palletized support / fire systems. An additional three aircraft will also have the same mission package capabilities,” an Alenia Aermacchi press release explains.