The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has received its first Alenia Aermacchi-built C-27 J Spartan battlefield airlift aircraft at RAAF Base Richmond.
Australia is set to receive ten C-27J aircraft as part of a $900m foreign military sales (FMS) programme agreed with the US in May 2012. The prime contractor for this programme is L-3 Communications.
RAFF chief Air Marshal Geoff Brown said: "The C-27J will strengthen the Australia Defence Force’s air lift capability by increasing our ability to move troops, equipment and supplies.
"The aircraft will complement the capabilities of the C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster and will be able to carry medium-sized loads and access smaller runways that are not suited to other aircraft."
The C-27J will support the air force’s capability for tactical fixed wing airlift that is missing after the retirement of the Caribou fleet in 2009.
Power for the C-27J Spartan will come from two AE 2100D3 turboshaft engines. The aircraft is designed to conduct cargo transportation, logistic support of military units, electronic surveillance, firefighting and search-and-rescue (SAR) operations.
It is equipped with missile warning systems, electronic self protection, secure communications and battlefield armour and will be capable of resisting a range of threats.
Brown added: "Under Plan Jericho, the plan to transform the air force into a fifth generation fighting force for the information age, the C-27J will operate within an integrated system that is more agile, has an extended reach and gathers and distributes information quicker and more efficiently than ever before."
The C-27J fleet’s initial operational capability is scheduled for late 2016, while final operational capability is expected within the following two years.
Image: The Royal Australian Air Force’s first C-27 J Spartan battlefield airlift aircraft. Photo: courtesy of CPL Veronica O’Hara / © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.