In 1988, a joint Spanish-Indonesian endeavor introduced the high-winged CN-235, propeller-driven tactical transport aircraft and 273 were eventually built under the CASA/IPTN brand label. An new initiative then saw the twin-turboprop system revised into the C-295 with a lengthened fuselage (six whole frames added, three forward and three aft) which has increased internal hauling capacity by 50%. To contend with the added weight gains, new Pratt & Whitney PW127G series turboprops have been installed, the wings reinforced, and the undercarriage strengthened. Additional fuel stores have also been added to increase operational ranges. The cockpit uses four LCDs (Liquid-Crystal Displays) and supports NVG (Night Vision Gear), and HUDs (Head-Up Displays). The C-295 began development in November of 1996 and was unveiled during the Paris Air Show the following year with introduction in 2001 through the Spanish Air Force. The aircraft remains in active service with over a dozen air forces the world over. A prototype first flew on November 28th, 1997 to prove the design sound and production has been ongoing since 1997 with over 100 units delivered.
CASA has since fallen under the EADS brand label which is now, itself, under the reformed Airbus Military name. The aircraft are manufactured from the Airbus Military facility located in Spain.
The C-295 is crewed by two pilots and adds mission specialists depending on cargo haul and mission role. The internal hold has a capacity for up to 71 combat-ready troops or a 20,400lb cargo payload. Dimensions of the aircraft include a length of 80.2 feet, a wingspan of 84.7 feet, and a height of 28.2 feet. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) is listed at 51,145lbs. Power is through 2 x Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engines developing 2,645 horsepower each while driving six-bladed propellers. Performance includes a maximum speed of 360 miles per hour, cruising speed of 300 miles per hour, ferry range of 3,300 miles, and service ceiling of 30,000 feet. The high-wing design approach allows for good lifting properties and stability in low-level flight. The fuselage is noticeably tubular with the flight deck mounted over the short nose providing good views out-of-the-cockpit. The tail is raised to provide clearer access to the rear cargo ramp found under the tail. The tail unit incorporates a single vertical tail fin and low-mounted horizontal planes. The undercarriage is wholly retractable with the main legs set under a bulged section of the fuselage.
Variants include the base military model as the C-295M. Locally-produced Indonesian marks are the NC-295 and CN-295. A maritime patrol variant exists as the C-295 MPA "Persuader" and features six hardpoints for the anti-submarine role. The model may be acquired by the British and is already in service with the Chilean Navy with another deal to an unnamed NATO member in the works. Another version is outfitted with Israeli AESA radar for the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C = "AWACs") role and remains in prototype form - unveiled at Royal International Air Tattoo in 2011 with its radome mounted over the aft fuselage. The C-295W sports winglets at the mainplane wingtips and uprated engine installation. This mark is still in final development.