- Indonesian aerospace company PT Dirgantara has made progress on a gunship variant of its CN-235 aircraft
- The variant will be marketed to potential customers, especially those in the Middle East and African regions
Indonesian state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara (PTDI) has completed ground firing trials on a gunship variant of the CN-235 twin-engine multipurpose aircraft, and is now preparing the airframe for its first aerial tests, Igan Satyawati, the company's vice president for business development and marketing, told Jane's at Singapore Airshow 2020.
The variant, which has been developed out of the company's flying test bed (FTB) airframe, is fitted with single-barrelled 30 mm DEFA 553 aircraft cannon on the portside aft of its fuselage.
The weapon was 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 FTB was formerly in service with the now defunct domestic flight operator, Merpati Nusantara Airlines. PTDI acquired the airframe as a platform from which it can prove out experimental concepts, such as the gunship variant.
It is equipped with General Electric (GE) CT7-9 turboprop engines and has been structurally enhanced to withstand the weight of its 30 mm cannon. The airframe has also been retrofitted with storage compartments to store equipment and munitions related to the weapon.
There are plans to incorporate hardpoints on the aircraft's wings and fuselage so it can carry additional weapons but this is not a priority at the moment, said the company.
"Now that ground-based firings from the aircraft have been completed, we are focused on preparing the parameters to test the aircraft and its [30 mm] weapon while it is in the air," sad Igan, adding that the company is aiming to conduct the flight trials by 2020.
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