Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AO, welcomed the first Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-27J Spartan battlefield airlift aircraft in Australia at a ceremony at RAAF Base Richmond on June 30, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the base’s establishment.
The acquisition of the C-27J Spartan will fill a gap in Australia’s military capability for tactical fixed wing airlift, which has been left open since the retirement of the Caribou fleet in 2009.
Air Marshal Geoff Brown said the acquisition of 10 C-27J Spartan aircraft, which has been planned since 2012, signifies a $1.4 billion investment in Australia’s airlift capability.
«This acquisition represents a commitment to Australia’s air power capability which is a critical element of Australia’s national security and defence strategy», he said. «The C-27J Spartan will strengthen the Australian Defence Force’s airlift 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 III and will be able to carry medium-sized loads and access smaller runways that are not suited to other aircraft. This will allow Royal Australian Air Force to support humanitarian missions as well as battlefield airlift in remote locations and unprepared airstrips common in Australia’s region. Under Plan Jericho, the plan to transform Royal Australian Air Force into a fifth generation fighting force for the information age, the C-27J Spartan 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 Spartan aircraft provides protection from a range of threats through features such as missile warning systems, electronic self-protection, secure communications and battlefield armour.
Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the C-27J Spartan fleet is planned for late 2016, with Final Operational Capability (FOC) expected within the following two years.
The fleet of C-27J Spartan aircraft will initially be based at RAAF Base Richmond in New South Wales, until their permanent home at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland is completed.
The C-27J Spartan is the best seller in the new-generation, medium battlefield airlifter category. The C-27J Spartan is a twin-engine, turboprop, tactical transport aircraft with state-of-the-art technology in avionics, propulsion and systems. It provides high performance, extreme operating flexibility and cost efficiency and it is the only aircraft in its class capable of interoperability with heavier airlifters.
The C-27J Spartan can perform a variety of missions including transport of troops, goods and medicines, logistical re-supply, MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC), airdrop operations, paratroopers’ launches, Search And Rescue (SAR), firefighting, humanitarian assistance, oil spill relief, and operations in support of homeland security.
The C-27J Spartan is equipped with modern avionics and efficient propulsion system (Rolls Royce AE2100-D2A, assuring a 4,650 shp/3,467.5 kW). The architecture of its avionics system is completely redundant, thus increasing the level of mission security and reliability and permitting operation in any environment condition and in any operational scenario.
The C-27J Spartan, thanks to a loading system, perfectly compatible with that of the C-130 Hercules, can carry pallets weighing up to 10,000 lbs/4,550 kg and 7.2 feet/2.2 m tall, or platforms with a length of 12 feet/3.6 m, weighing up 13,228 lbs/6,000 kg.
The C-27J is capable of taking off from and landing on unprepared strips less-than-500 m/1,640 feet long, with maximum take-off weight up to 70,000 lbs/31,800 kg; it may carry up to 60 equipped soldiers or up to 46 paratroopers and, in the air ambulance (MEDEVAC) version, 36 stretchers or 24 stretchers and two Patient Transport Support System (P.T.S.S), with stretchers and stowage provisions for intensive care medical equipment and six medical assistants.
The large cross section (8.53 feet/2.60 m high, 10.92 feet/3.33 m wide) and high floor strength (10,800 lbs/m/4,900 kg/m load capability) allow heavy and large military equipment to be loaded. The C-27J Spartan can, for example, carry fighter and transport aircraft engines, such as C-130 Hercules, Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16 Fighting Falcon and Mirage 2000 directly on its normal engine dollies without additional special equipment.
The C-27J Spartan has been designed, developed and tested as a true military aircraft. It has obtained Military Qualification Certificate. At the same time the C-27J Spartan is airworthy to civil standards, as witnessed by its certification from the Civil Aviation Authority, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2001 for the basic configuration and subsequently EASA/FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in 2010 for the C-27J JCA configuration.
|Crew||Pilot, co-pilot, loadmaster|
|Engine||2 Rolls-Royce AE 2100-D2 × 4,650 shp/3,467.5 kW|
|Length||74.5 feet/22.7 m|
|Height||31.5 feet/9.6 m|
|Wingspan||94.2 feet/28.7 m|
|Weight||67,241 lbs/30,500 kg|
|Range||5,294 NM/6,092.5 miles/9,805 km|
|Ceiling||30,000 feet/9,144 m|
|Maximum Speed||362 knots/416 mph/670 km/h|
|21 stretcher patients|
|17,857 lbs/8,100 kg of cargo|
|Weapons||Electronic self-protection measures|
The first Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) touched down at RAAF Base Townsville on 24 June 2015, before travelling onwards to its new home of RAAF Base Richmond on 25 June 2015. An acceptance ceremony was then held at RAAF Base Richmond on 30 June 2015 for the first of ten C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifters to enter service with the Royal Australian Air Force