Slovakia officially inducted into its inventory the first of two Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft on 31 October.
The twin-engined turboprop, which actually arrived in-country the previous week, was welcomed into service during a ceremony at Malacky-Kuchyna air base near the Austrian border. Malacky-Kuchyna is home to the Slovak Air Force’s (Vzdusné sily Slovenskej Republiky) transport wing which currently fields the Let L-410 Turbolet twin-turboprop cargo aircraft.
Slovakia has acquired the C-27J to replace the already-retired Warsaw Pact-era Antonov An-26 ‘Curl’ airlifters it inherited with the split from the Czech Republic in 1993. Following a protracted procurement process that lasted about six years, a contract was signed in 2014 that was estimated to be worth EUR120 million (USD152 million at the time).
This first aircraft was due to have been delivered in 2016, and the Slovak Ministry of Defence noted that negotiations are ongoing with Alenia Aermacchi’s parent company Leonardo with regard to penalty fees resulting from its late arrival. The second C-27J is now scheduled to arrive at Malacky-Kuchyna at the beginning of 2018.
The C-27J has an 11-tonne payload and a 3,070 n mile (5,685 km; 3,532 miles) ferry range. Other than Slovakia, the C-27J Spartan has already been ordered by Australia, Bulgaria, Chad, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Romania, and the United States (though the US Air Force has since divested the type to the US Coast Guard and Special Operations Command due to budgetary reasons), as well as to one undisclosed African operator.
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