The Slovenian Armed Forces received the first of their two newly acquired C-27J Spartan transport aircraft on 20 December 2023.

The aircraft, known for their capabilities in tactical transportation, are expected to enhance the military’s effectiveness in both military operations and disaster relief efforts. 

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.

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 costing €45.4m exclusive of VAT.

The acquisition of the C-27J Spartan aircraft from Leonardo is a response to gaps identified in Slovenia’s tactical airlift capacity, which became more evident during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a release from Nato’s Allied Air Command. 

They will be employed for the transportation of personnel and cargo, parachuting operations, medical evacuations, and firefighting. To facilitate diverse roles, the C-27J aircraft will be equipped with specialised modules, such as a passenger transport module and a firefighting module that includes an eight-tonne water tank.

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By GlobalData

Colonel Janez Gaube, commander of Slovenia’s 15th Military Aviation Wing, stated that two crews have already been trained to operate the C-27J for most of its intended missions. Further training is planned to commence on January 15 at Maribor airport, due to runway renovations at Cerklje ob Krki.

The official handover ceremony took place at the Cerklje ob Krki air base in Slovenia. During the event, Slovenia’s Defence Minister Marjan Šarec highlighted the significance of the new aircraft for the country’s defence and humanitarian efforts. He emphasised the importance of investment in research and development, as well as the use of Slovenian expertise, to ensure the Armed Forces remain effective and modern.

The C-27J Spartan aircraft is already in use by several of Slovenia’s allies and partners, including Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia, and its integration with the Slovenian Air Force represents a significant enhancement of the  Armed Forces’ capabilities, expanding combined air transport operations.

Additional reporting from Harry McNeil.