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Italian Air Force to deploy MC-27J Praetorian by 2030

The Italian Air Force will operate the MC-27J Praetorian configuration by 2030. The photo shows an MC-27J Praetorian with winglets. (Leonardo SpA)

The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) has confirmed to Janes that it will deploy the Leonardo MC-27J Praetorian special operations aircraft by 2030.

Speaking to Janes on 27 January, a spokesperson of the press office of the AMI said that the development and serialisation of the Praetorian roll-on/roll-off palletised mission system is scheduled to be completed by 2030.

The AMI's 12 C-27J tactical transport aircraft will continue to perform their passenger/cargo role in addition to new special operations roles (including tactical control; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and communication, command, and control). As a result the service will not procure additional C-27J tactical transport aircraft, the spokesperson said.

In early December 2021, the Italian Defence Staff pointed out during a parliamentary session of its defence committee that at least four Praetorian systems will be developed during three phases, between 2021 and 2030.

The first phase consists of the development and integration of one Leonardo Airborne Tactical Observation Surveillance System (ATOS) on a modified MC-27J Praetorian prototype to achieve an initial operational capability (IOC) configuration, with limited operational capabilities. Phase 2 will proceed with the integration of the Praetorian system with a new avionics configuration – which will become the standard on the whole C-27J fleet – along with the development of the Praetorian's final operational capability configuration for three more aircraft. Phase three will complete the serialisation of the remaining two aircraft. All three phases include logistics support for the MC-27J Praetorian aircraft and mission system.

The AMI confirmed to Janes

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