C-27J Spartan

Alenia Aermacchi is set to begin final assembly of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) first C-27J Spartan battlefield airlift aircraft under contract at its facility in Turin, Italy.

The assembly process will start once the aircraft’s fuselage is transported to Alenia’s Capodichino plant in Naples, Italy, reported UPI.com.

"In the tactical transport role, the C-27J provides the best possible integration with the existing Australian Defense Force fleet," the statement added.

"It will provide an airlift capability between the CH-47 Chinook and C-130J Hercules, as well as integrating with the much larger C-17A Globemaster."

Alenia is scheduled to supply a total of ten C-27J aircraft along with related logistical support services to RAAF, as part of a $900m foreign military sales programme agreed between Australia and the US in May 2012.

Selected after comprehensive assessment by the Australian Department of Defence, the aircraft is expected to significantly enhance the Australian Defence Forces’ ability to move troops, equipment and supplies in absence of DHC-4 Caribou aircraft, which was decommissioned from service in 2009.

The first C-27J is expected to be delivered in 2015, while the initial operating capability is scheduled for the end of 2016.

All aircraft will be based at RAAF Base Richmond in New South Wales, Australia.

Powered by two AE 2100D3 turboshaft engines, the C-27J Spartan is a tactical transport aircraft designed to conduct cargo transportation, logistic support of military units, electronic surveillance, firefighting, and search and rescue operations.

The aircraft has also been ordered by the air forces of Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco and Romania.

Image: The C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft. Photo: file image.