Jordan wants to convert a C-295 transport into a gunship configuration. (Airbus Defence & Space)
PARIS — Jordan is stepping up its gunship capability following the signing of a deal with aircraft builder Airbus Military and weapons supplier ATK to convert one of the C-295 transports in service with its Air Force into an aerial enforcer.
The Jordanian state-owned King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau signed a deal at Eurosatory to work cooperatively with ATK and Airbus to develop a C-295 gunship.
The twin turboprop C-295 is best known as a transport aircraft but is increasingly being offered in special mission roles. The Jordanian deal is the first time it will be used as a gunship.
The signing comes just weeks after the Royal Jordanian Air Force took delivery of two smaller Airbus CN-235 transports converted into the gunship role, where they are known as the AC-235.
The AC-295 gunship configuration will be based on the AC-235, which includes integrated mission and fire control systems, electro-optical and radar sensors, Hellfire missiles, ATK’s side-mounted M230 30mm chain gun, an integrated defensive suite, and 2.75-inch guided rockets.
Jordan’s Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein told Defense News the AC-235 order had effectively acted as “proof of concept” machines to demonstrate the capability ahead of the deal for the larger aircraft.
Prince Feisal said the AC-295 gunship offered improved performance and endurance compared with the smaller aircraft.
“The weapons are essentially the same but the bigger fuselage gives us greater flexibility for incorporating sensors and other systems. Endurance is also improved with the AC-295 being able to fly for nine hours compared with the two-and-a-half to three hours of the AC-235. The bigger aircraft also has an air-to-air refueling capability,” he said.
Prince Feisal said use of an aircraft already in the inventory would significantly speed up delivery.
The prince would not confirm final fleet numbers but a source said it was possible a new aircraft would also be purchased from Airbus Military to round out the total Jordanian gunship capability to four aircraft.