Airbus Defence and Space has created a special operations version of its C295 of its twin-turboprop tactical military transport aircraft.

The C295 Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft can now be weaponised to fulfil the role of a Close Air Support (CAS) asset. For its maiden flight, Airbus equipped the platform with eight laser guided missiles and two laser guided bomb dummies, sited on four underwing hardpoints in order to prove aerodynamical and mechanical integration.

As the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Airbus has approved the safety of the modifications necessary to arm the aircraft. Signed agreements with air-to-surface weapons manufacturers included Roketsan of Turkey; Expal, Escribano and Equipaer of Spain; Rheinmetall of Germany, and the US suppliers Nobles Worldwide and US Ordnance.

Airbus states that the C295 can now have a variety of weapons integrated onto the aircraft, including machine guns, 27mm auto-cannon, guided and unguided rockets, laser guided missiles to laser guided bombs.

Airbus will be showing the C295 ISR at the Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminar (SOFINS), from 29 June through 1 July near Bordeaux, France.

by Andrew Drwiega