Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) Mr Warren King today announced the Royal Australian Air Force’s first C-27J Spartan has successfully completed its maiden flight in Italy.
Mr 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 said.
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. The C-27J was selected for its performance, configuration and suitability after it was assessed as having the ability to fly further, faster and higher while carrying more cargo and requiring a smaller runway than the other aircraft under consideration.
Air Force has re-established Number 35 Squadron to operate the ten C-27J aircraft.
Imagery is available through the Defence Image Library: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20132515
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999