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.
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Orbital ATK - United States / Jordan Manufacturer(s)
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