In mid-2008 Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) made a $32 million budget reprogramming request in order to buy a C-27J light tactical transport plane and convert it into a small prototype AC-XX gunship, using “proven/known” weapons and systems.
That effort foundered for good when the USAF canceled the C-27J, but programs to turn existing USMC and AFSOC C-130s into light gunships had laid the technical foundations. Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi figured that a C-27J gunship might have a lot of appeal on the international market. Especially if the gunship kit could somehow co-exist with its role as a transport. In 2012, they unveiled exactly that, thanks to a collaboration with America’s ATK: the MC-27J Praetorian.