The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has received its 10th and final Leonardo C-27J Spartan twin-turboprop, tactical transport aircraft.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced on 18 April that the final C-27J had been “welcomed into service” in a ceremony held at RAAF Base Richmond, adding that the move marks the upgrade completion of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) fleet of air-mobility platforms.
“The Spartan provides flexibility to Defence operations, allowing us to land at airfields that are smaller or unsuitable for our much larger transport aircraft like the C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster,” said Payne.
In service with the RAAF’s No 35 Squadron, the C-27Js are intended to provide a battlefield airlift capability for the ADF as well as to supplement the existing Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of helicopters in the airlift role.
Initial operating capability for the platform was announced in late 2016, with final operating capability scheduled to be declared in late 2019.
Payne also announced that the C-27Js, which are currently operated from RAAF Base Richmond, are set to relocate to RAAF Base Amberley in early 2019.
“The relocation to Amberley will allow No 35 Squadron to work from facilities purpose-built for the Spartan, and to be more responsive when deploying across Australia and into the Asia Pacific,” said Payne.
In November 2017 the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced that it had awarded an AUD200 million (USD155.5 million) contract to Northrop Grumman that covers through-life support (TLS) services for the RAAF’s C-27J fleet.
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