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Orbital ATK AC-235

Light-class Fixed-Wing Gunship


The Orbital ATK AC-235 is a gunship variant of the CASA-Airbus Military C-235 tactical transport platform.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Orbital ATK AC-235 Light-class Fixed-Wing Gunship.  Entry last updated on 7/12/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Due to the rise in "irregular warfare" there has been a growing interest by air services of the world in procuring affordable light-attack / Close-Air support (CAS) and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) platforms. The Orbital ATK AC-235 fulfills this role and is being touted for its robust qualities and over-battlefield flexibility. Orbital ATK is the 2015 offshoot of the merger between Orbital Sciences Corporation and Alliant Techsystems centering on the aerospace and defense sector.

The AC-235 was a joint-development between Orbital ATK and the nation of Jordan. The company also holds experience in development of the MC-27J Praetorian, a gunship based off of the Italian Alenia C-27J tactical transport.

The AC-235 is categorized as a "light gunship" (the AC-295 being the medium-sized derivative) and is similar in battlefield form and function to the Lockheed AC-130. Like the AC-130, the AC-235 is built upon the framework of an existing fixed-wing platform, namely the Spanish CASA (Airbus Military) CN-235 transport. Orbital ATK offers its mission system (dual-color displays, Fire Control System) coupled with an EO/IR sensor with laser designation capability, synthetic aperture radar and a complete countermeasures fit. The cockpit sports a complete tactical display arrangement, protected data links, night vision equipment support, and armor protection (the latter for low altitude survivability). Weapons pylons are added to the sides of the fuselage and are cleared to carry AGM-114 "Hellfire" surface-to-air missiles as well as 70mm multi-shot rocket pods. A 30mm M230LF automatic cannon is seated within the fuselage to fire out of the side at ground targets below. The gun is fully trainable atop its mounting for added tactical flexibility.

The AC-235 retains the basic design arrangement of the C-235 hauler: It showcases a high-mounted monoplane wing arrangement with the wings set at midships. This provides the aircraft with good short-field qualities and clears the prop from damage and endangering ground personnel. Each wing has a single engine nacelle driving a four-bladed propeller unit. The cockpit is set overlooking the nose in the usual way and the tail is elevated. Within the fuselage are crew stations and processing systems while offering some customizing. Atop the aft section is a single, high-reaching vertical fin with low-mounted tailplanes. The undercarriage is a tricycle arrangement.


YEAR: 2019
STATUS: In-Development
MANUFACTURER(S): Orbital ATK - United States / Jordan
LENGTH: 70.54 ft (21.5 m)
WIDTH: 84.65 ft (25.8 m)
HEIGHT: 16.99 ft (5.18 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 22,046 lb (10,000 kg)
MTOW: 35,274 lb (16,000 kg)
POWER: 2 x General Electric CT7-9C3 turboprop engines developing 1,750 shaft horsepower each.
SPEED: 280 mph (450 kph; 243 kts)
CEILING: 24,606 feet (7,500 m; 4.66 miles)
RANGE: 3,107 miles (5,000 km; 2,700 nm)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,750 ft/min (533 m/min)

1 x 30mm M230LF autocannon in side-firing trainable mounting.

AGM-114 "Hellfire" air-to-surface missiles and 70mm multi-shot rocket pods supported on side-mounted wing stubs.
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Variants / Models

• AC-235 - Base Series Designation

Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (280mph).

Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Orbital ATK AC-235's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (0)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
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Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
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Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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