Spanish CASA CN-235 and its successor, CASA C-295
The CASA C-295 aircraft (Construcciones Aeronáuticas S.A.) is a twin-turboprop, tactical Air Transport (AT) aircraft developed by CASA of Spain, today part of Airbus Defence and Space. The aircraft is based on the CASA CN-235 – and the first reconstruction of a CN-235 flew in November 1997. The maiden flight of the first newly built prototype of the aircraft took place on 22 December 1998.
Compared to the CN-235, the newer C-295 was enhanced with additional segments before and behind the wing stretched fuselage, more powerful engines and reinforcements on the chassis and the wings. The high-wing design approach allows stability during low-level missions as well as a swift performance from short airstrips.
The cargo bay can be used for mixed cargo and passenger transport. A wide ventral door and cargo ramp in the upswept rear fuselage as well as the roller loading system provide an easy access and sound fixation of the load. The cargo bay can accommodate up to three light vehicles or standard pallets.
For troop transporting the cargo bay can be fitted with two or three rows of foldable seats to accommodate 44 fully equipped paratroops or up to 70 troops. The aircraft is equipped with two paratroop doors, one on each side at the rear part of the aircrafts fuselage. In comparison to bigger tactical AT-aircrafts the small aircraft meanwhile became an efficient alternative to execute paratrooping missions.
For Aeromedical Evacuation missions, the cargo bay can also be configured with 27 stretchers, attended by four medical staff personnel. An alternative configuration accommodates an intensive care unit (ICU) for 12 patients.
Additional fuel stores have also been added, which increases the (operational) range capacity of the aircraft. It can also be equipped with an optional refueling probe, thus the range can be further extended by in-flight refueling.
The adaptable architecture concepts and the use of dual technology with the given military equipment ensure success in use at the required tactical missions as well as compatibility with the latest civil aviation environment. Therefore the cockpit is generally digitally equipped with liquid crystal displays. It supports Night Vision Gear as well as Head Up Displays. Also the cabin is equipped with the Integrated Engine Display System (IED) that delivers data about machine parameters, the fuel system data, as well monitors and records the engine operating parameters for maintenance purposes. Further aircraft variants comprise roles such Maritime Patrol, Airborne Early Warning & Command (AEW), Search and Rescue (SAR) or Anti-Submarine Warfare.
Due to its size and performance, the T-21 - that’s how the aircraft is named within the Spanish Forces - meets today the current demands for modern air transport capacity within the EATC assigned fleet. Moreover it demonstrates currently as an efficient complement to the older C-130 aircraft, thus also can be regarded as capable complement to future heavier European AT-aircraft.
The Spanish Air Force intends to build up a fleet of a total of 18 aircraft.