- PT Dirgantara has confirmed plans to market a gunship variant of the CN-235 turboprop aircraft
- Work on a demonstrator platform is currently under way, and the company aims for its first flight in 2019
Indonesian state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara (PTDI) has begun work on a gunship variant of the CN-235 twin-engine multipurpose aircraft, the company has confirmed to Jane’s .
The aircraft, which is based on the company’s CN-235-220 airframe, is being developed as a demonstrator platform, and will be marketed to potential customers in the Middle Eastern, African, and Central and Southeast Asian regions, said the company.
The aircraft is being modified to carry one single-barrelled 30 mm DEFA 553 aircraft cannon on the portside aft of its fuselage. The weapon has been salvaged from a retired Douglas A-4H Skyhawk that was formerly in service with the Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU).
The DEFA 553 cannon has a muzzle velocity of 810 m/s, and can fire up to 1,200 rds/min at both air and surface targets. There are also plans to complement this weapon with electro-optical targeting systems and a laser designator. However, the company has yet to decide on systems that will be selected for these roles on the demonstrator.
Other differences that the gunship demonstrator will feature over earlier versions of PTDI’s CN-235 include using General Electric (GE) CT7-9 turboprop engines, instead of the older CT7-7. The aircraft has also been built with wingtip devices to improve the aircraft’s overall fuel efficiency.
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