The US Department of Defense (DoD) has allotted seven of the 21 C-27J Spartan tactical airlift aircraft divested by the national air force to the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), the department's spokeswoman Ann Stefanek has announced.
Stefanek was quoted by Defense News as saying that the SOCOM will receive the first three aircraft currently stationed at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina by the month's end, while delivery of the next four airlifters is scheduled between December and April 2014.
The fate of the US Air Force's (USAF) remaining 14 C-27Js remains undecided at the moment, Stefanek added.
Out of 14 airframes, 13 aircraft are already in Type 1000 storage at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, US, and will be joined by the remaining one C-27 following its roll out from L-3's facility in Waco, Texas, US.
The aircraft may be labelled as 'excess' materiel by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and subsequently transferred to other federal agencies, such as the US Forest Service or Coast Guard, in case of failure to attract interest from any other US military organisation.
Both the US Forest Service and Coast Guard have already submitted a letter of interest in purchasing the aircraft to OSD, according to the news agency.
USAF purchased only 21 C-27Js from Alenia Aermacchi as opposed to the planned 38 airlifters, and directly sent them into storage citing that the operational and maintenance costs were more expensive than the C-130H transport aircraft.
Manufactured by Alenia Aermacchi, 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 (SAR) operations.
Image: A USAF's C-27J Spartan aircraft during its flight. Photo: courtesy of Marcus Qwertyu.