The project, announced at an international airshow in the United Arab Emirates, has two phases. During Phase One, Alenia Aermacchi will develop and deliver a MC-7J Praetorian prototype to the Italian Air Force next spring for testing in operational scenarios. Phase Two will involve industrialization of the Praetorian configuration and related logistic support.
The C-27J is a twin-engine turboprop transport with a cruise speed of 362 miles per hour, a ceiling of 30,000 feet and a range of more than 1,000 miles with a payload of 22,000 pounds.
Alenia Aermacchi said its partners on the project are ATK of the United States and Selex ES.
The Italian Air Force plans to transform three C-27J's currently in service into the Praetorian configuration in 2016. Three others will follow. All six will feature command-and-control equipment, palletized cargo systems and fire support systems.
Details of weaponry to be carried by the aircraft were not disclosed.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]