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Dubai Airshow 2017: Airbus highlights armed C295
Armed ISR version of C295. © Emmanuel Huberdeau

Dubai Airshow 2017: Airbus highlights armed C295

Airbus is displaying an Armed ISR version of its C295 tactical airlifter in response to strong demand from the Middle East and Africa.

Airbus is displaying a new version of its successful C295 tactical airlifter in Dubai. The company says it is responding to strong demand in the Middle East and Africa for a heavily armed platform with extended endurance as a complement to light attack aircraft. Hence the “Armed ISR” variant on display at the show.

The company believes that the C295 is well suited to the armed role, due to its hold volume, autonomy and payload capacity. The company can also call on its experience as a mission systems integrator — the armed C295 is offered with the FITS mission system that has already been installed on more than 80 aircraft.

The Armed ISR C295 is being offered in three configurations. The baseline version features an electro-optical turret, radar and mission system with two operator stations. Two 12.7mm machine guns can be mounted in the rear side doors. An undisclosed customer is due to take delivery of the first aircraft in this configuration in the near future.

A special forces variant features a single operator console and the two machine guns. This variant offers a range of more than 2,500nm and can perform missions lasting up to 12 hours.

Another, heavy armed version is equipped with two EO/IR turrets — one for surveillance, the other for weapons operation. This version features three operator stations, and the pilots can be equipped with helmet-mounted sights. Options for this version include a single remote-operated 27mm gun mounted in one of the rear side doors.

Weapons are mounted on underwing hardpoints, two of which are already qualified on the C295. The addition of two further hardpoints will require structural reinforcement of the wing. The manufacturer recommends installing the system on new aircraft rather than modifying existing platforms.

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