– Background – C-27J Geneology: Fiat G.222 Ancestry
C-27J Origins – From Lightweight V/STOL Fighter Support to Middlweight
The C-27J lineage began as Italy's response to an early '60s NATO Basic Military Requirement (NBMR 4) for a
vertical take-off support aircraft. The aircraft were to provide dedicated support
for V/STOL fighters. Initially the Fiat design featured a twin- boom layout (like the Fairchild C-119 it was to
replace). Each boom mounted a turboprop engine (3025 shp Rolls-Royce Darts) as well as 2,495 kg thrust lift jet
engines (Rolls- Royce RB 162s, varying from three to four lift jets per side at different points in the
design's evolution). This twin-boom design was eclipsed.
Somebody's Gotta be Conventional – CTOL and Another Engine
In 1966, the Italian MoD placed an order for two CTOL prototype G.222s. Lift jets were dropped, airframe
enlarged , and engines changed to GE T64s.  The final G.222 entered Italian service as
a tactical airlifter
in 1976 – 16 years after design work began. The only major variant  were 21 R-R Tyne-powered G.222Ts
built to skirt around US embargo rules preventing the T64-powered G.222 from being sold to Libya. This tweaked
G.222T proved a dead-end. Next in the lineage was the revamped C-27J.
 NBMR 4 was not formally unveilled until 1962 but designs were produced more than a year earlier. Other unbuilt
Italian entries into the contest included the Agusta tilt-rotor A119 and twin-rotor A118. See: Italian V/STOL Concepts of the Twentieth Century (a 2.6 MB pdf ).
 In June 1958, Italy, France, and Germany issued a joint requirement for a common replacement for in-service
piston-engined transports (Italian C-119s and the Franco-German Noratlas). That contest produced the
Transall. But Italy dropped out, buying 14 x C-130 Hercules instead (the first arriving in 1972).
It was rumoured that the C-130 purchase was linked to licences for another Lockheed aircraft, the F-104
Starfighter. This left the door open for Fiat /Aeritalia to successfully lobby for the development of a
CTOL version of their smaller G.222. Giuseppe Gabrielli (best known for WWII Fiat fighters) designed the G.222
alongside Fiat's NMBR 3 entry, the unbuilt G.95 VTOL fighter.
 Wingspan was progressively increased four times during the design process, becoming 50% larger (from 18.10m long
in 1963 to 27.50m in the final form). The fuselage was stretched by
2m. Weight rose from under 13000kg for the 1963 VTOL version to a CTOL of 28000kg +.
 G.222 design work began before the first T64 was flown (in Sept 1961 on a converted DeHavilland Canada
Caribou). The R-R Dart had reached the limits of its development (take-off power required water
methanol injection). FiatAvio licenced the T64-P4D from GE in 1975.
 Almost all AMI aircraft were trasporto variants (G.222TCM). There were also radio calibration, ELINT,
and firefighting versions of the standard airframe. A stretched, Tyne-powered G.222TS was
proposed. The USAF C-27A was essentially a G.222TCM with US equipment.