Status: In service
First Flight: 1965
In service since: 1965
Primary user: Royal Norsan Air Force
Cost: ~$32 million
The Weiteren C-45 "Warrior" is a twin engine aircraft built by Weiteren, predominantly for the Royal Norsan Air Force, but also for export. The aircraft is capable of taking of and landing on unprepared runways, and a carrier capable version, the C-45 C is currently undergoing trials. Originally designed as a troop, medivac and cargo transport aircraft, the Warrior has found many other roles, and many other variants of the original version have been built, including a gunship (C-45 A), a search and rescue variant (C-45 I) and an AWACS variant (C-45 E), as well as many other variants. The Warrior has been compared to the Lockheed Martin C-130, one of the most effective, versatile and popular aircraft in history.
In 1962, it was becoming clear that Norstham's WWII era piston engine light transport aircraft were becoming obsolete, and needed to be replaced. The Air Force came to the country's premier aerospace manufacturer, Weiteren, for a new transport aircraft. The aircraft was to be 56 feet long, have a wingspan of 32.4 meters and be propelled by two turboprop engines. Weiteren submitted 3 designs, the AX-345, which was turned down because the airframe was not versatile enough, the AX-45, which was selected and the AX-676, which was much much larger, and went on to be the base for a design for another, heavy lift transport aircraft in service with the RNAF, the C-676. The AX-45 prototype proved very versatile, and could fill a number of roles, the MoD not only saw a airframe that filled there light transport aircraft void, but also one with potential to go on and fill many roles, and one with the potential to serve for many, many decades. Three months after the prototype first flew, production started on the first batch of aircraft, known simply as the C-45. 30 aircraft were produced in the original batch, and all were brought into service in November 1965, and 25 of those would go one to serve until 1987. Over the years, many variants have been produced, and the latest incarnation of the aircraft in its original role is the C-45 J.
Below, one of the original C-45s, which has been modernised.
The following variants of the C-45 are still in service, or are being developed.
The original Warrior, the C-45 has been the basis for all other Warrior designs, and in 2015 marked 50 years of service, not just for the original airframe, but for the Warrior as an aircraft. The A-45 is used for transporting cargo, and for transporting troops. The original features two turboprop engines, and the original dimensions submitted in the original request. The originals, as they are known, have been modernised 3 times in there 50 years of service, with, among other things, engine upgrades. 4 are still in service with the RNAF.
The C-45 J is the latest incarnation of the transport variant, and features the latest Weiteren turboprop engines, is wider than the original, and has improved avionics and systems. The J variant entered service in 2013, and is still in production, 34 aircraft have been built as of 2016, and production is set to continue.
The C-45 A is the heavily armed, ground attack variant of the C-45. Due to its fairly large profile, and low optimum operating altitude for attacking targets, it operates primarily at night, providing close air support, though it is not as limited in when it can attack as the C-45 A and regularly operates in an attacking role during the day. The airframe is the same size as the J variant, with hard points on the wings, and can be armed in a number of ways. It is normally armed with 2 air to air missiles on each wing, and then several laser guided weapons on the hard points as well, hard points can also be used for extra fuel tanks. It is also usually armed with two 20 mm cannons, one 25 mm cannons and one 105 mm howitzer, as well as several machine guns. The C-45 A was brought into service in 1990.
The C-45 S is the maritime patrol and ASW variant of the C-45, and is known as the sea warrior. The first major difference to the J is the substitution of the turboprop engines for two turbofan engines, and a increased wingspan, giving the Sea Warrior greater endurance. The Sea Warrior is armed with depth charges, torpedoes and occasionally anti-ship missiles. The Sea Warrior has advanced sensor and radar systems and avionics and has been in service since 2013.
Below: inside a C-45 S
The E variant of the C-45 is the AWACS variant, and is similar in design to the Sea Warrior variant, with turbofan instead of turboprop engines, but features four engines instead of two. Much debate has surrounded the E on weather or not it should be considered an aircraft in its own right, but it is a heavily modified C-35, and so should be considered a variant. (WIP)
The U is the special operations variant of the warrior. It is identical to the original C-45 in terms of size, but features different internal configurations to the original. The U is armed with two heavy machine guns, one on either side, and is in service with both the marines and NSOS.
For export information, please TG Norstham
Noronica: C-45 S; 20 units
Dormill and Stiura: C-45 J; 20 units