Slovenia and Italy have cemented their defence collaboration by signing an amendment to the implementing agreement.

This agreement paved the way for acquiring a second C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft, reinforcing both nations’ tactical air transport capabilities.

The Minister of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, Marjan Šarec, and the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Italy, Guido Crosetto, have signed an amendment to the implementing agreement that underscores their commitment to military aviation cooperation.

The amended agreement, initially signed on 17 November 2021, formalises the acquisition of a second C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft using the government-to-government model.

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Enhancing tactical air transport capabilities

The addition of this second tactical transport aircraft is aimed at bolstering the operational capabilities of the Slovenian Armed Forces. It ensures the SAF’s ability to provide tactical air transport services, including personnel and cargo transport, for both defence purposes and disaster relief efforts, such as firefighting.

Furthermore, acquiring the second aircraft addresses the need for redundancy, ensuring continuous availability even when one aircraft is undergoing maintenance.

The two C-27J Spartan aircraft will serve many purposes, including national vertical lift capability, support to state authorities, NATO and EU support, civil protection, and partner country support.

Despite a two-year interval since the original implementing agreement was signed for the first C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft, negotiators secured a cost reduction of nearly €3.5m for the second aircraft with the same configuration.

The firefighting and passenger transport modules, already purchased for the first aircraft, can be interchangeably used with the second.

Cost efficiency in procurement

The signed amendment outlines the purchase of the second C-27J aircraft, mirroring the first in the configuration, and includes a two-year warranty of €45.4m exclusive of VAT.

The cost for the first C-27J aircraft, encompassing certification, MEDEVAC standards, special modules, biological decontamination, ballistic protection, and a two-year warranty, amounted to €48.9m, ($52.3m) exclusive of VAT.

In addition to the aircraft procurement expenses, the budget encompasses ground support equipment, logistics support, training, spare parts, additional transport material, and acquiring firefighting and passenger transport modules.

Administrative costs for the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Italy and the Italian Military Aviation Authority are also included during the implementation agreement’s duration.

The total for purchasing two C-27J tactical cargo aircraft, including all modules, logistic support, insurance, certification, and management costs, stands at €128.9m, excluding VAT.

C-27J Spartan developments

Slovenia and Italy are committed partners: The relationship between Italy and Slovenia is good, aided by the geographic closeness of the states and their history of cooperation, according to GlobalData’s “Slovenia’s Defense Market 2023-2028” report.

In April 2022, the Slovenian Ministry of Defence signed a contract to procure the first C-27J from Leonardo, the report continues to outline.

The first C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft is currently in construction, undergoing certification, and is slated to arrive in Slovenia by December 2023. The second aircraft is expected to join the SAF’s fleet in December 2024, solidifying the partnership between Slovenia and Italy and enhancing their capabilities for years to come.

Other nations with C-27J developments in the last five years include Australia, which commissioned its 10th and final C-27J Spartan Aircraft into service in 2018. This year, Italy and Azerbaijan collaborated to provide the Azerbaijani Armed Forces with the C-27J tactical transport aircraft.