The Royal Australian Air Force today successfully completed the maiden flight of its first C-27J Spartan in Italy.
Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) Mr Warren King said this was an exciting milestone for the DMO and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as it represents a major step towards further strengthening Air Force’s airlift capability.
Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown AO said the C-27J will significantly improve Air Force’s ability to provide air power to smaller runways in our region that cannot be reached by larger aircraft.
“The C-27J is the missing piece in our air lift capability. The C-17A Globemaster and C-130J Hercules provide medium and heavy airlift, however, we need a battlefield airlifter to ensure we can land at the locations throughout Australia and our region with smaller runways to provide air power when and where it is needed most,” Air Marshal Brown said.
The C-27J’s flexibility allows it to undertake a wide range of missions, from delivering ammunition to front line troops, to conducting aero-medical evacuation of casualties and to supporting humanitarian assistance missions in remote locations and high threat environments.
Mr King said the C-27J project remains on budget and on schedule for delivery. The first two C-27J’s are expected to arrive in Australia in 2015. The C-27J Spartan capability is expected to achieve initial operational capability in late 2016.
“As we all know, humanitarian assistance is very topical at the moment with the recent events in the Philippines,” Mr King added.
The C-27J Spartan is intended to complement the capabilities of the current C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster fleets and has common infrastructure, engines, avionics and cargo handling systems with the C-130J Hercules.
The C-27J Spartan replaces the Caribou, which was retired from service in 2009. And the Air Force has re-established Number 35 Squadron to operate the ten C-27J aircraft.