The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has commissioned the tenth and final C-27J Spartan into service during a ceremony held at RAAF Base Richmond.
Built by Lockheed Martin Alenia Tactical Transport Systems (LMATTS), the C-27Js will replace the existing fleet of DHC-4 Caribou and provide a light tactical fixed-wing aircraft capability to the RAAF.
Australia Defence Minister Marise Payne said: “The Spartan provides flexibility to defence operations, allowing us to land at airfields that are smaller or unsuitable for our much larger transport aircraft like the C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster.
“The Spartan can carry up to 5t of cargo and is capable of moving troops, equipment and supplies; conducting aero-medical evacuation missions and conducting air drops.”
No 35 Squadron, which currently operates the Spartans at RAAF Base Richmond, will relocate to RAAF Base Amberley after permanent facilities are completed in 2019.
Payne added: “The relocation to Amberley will allow No 35 Squadron to work from facilities purpose-built for the Spartan, and to be more responsive when deploying across Australia and into the Asia Pacific.”
In November 2017, Northrop Grumman secured an A$200m ($151.3m) through life support contract for the RAAF’s Spartan fleet.
The Spartan sustainment services to be provided Northrop is expected to create jobs for workers at RAAF Base Richmond and RAAF Base Amberley.
Australia Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said: “Fibre Tech Solutions has delivered a cargo restraint system for use on-board the Spartan and other air mobility aircraft, increasing the speed and ease of loading and unloading these aircraft.”
The RAAF’s C-27J Spartan aircraft fleet achieved initial operational capability (IOC) in late 2016, and will attain final operating capability next year.