RAAF redefines role of C-27J Spartan fleet to focus primarily on HADR operations

by Julian Kerr

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has redefined the role of its 10 Leonardo C-27J Spartan tactical airlifters, designating them as primarily meant for use in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations.

The Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra said in a 25 July news release that the Spartans' new role will “enhance Australia's humanitarian and emergency response to natural disasters in Australia and our near region, regional engagement across the Indo-Pacific, including through ‘Pacific Step-Up', and the Australian Defence Force's military logistics and air-mobility capability”.

The RAAF's 10th and final C-27J Spartan aircraft landing on a grass airstrip at RAAF Base Richmond. The service has redefined the role of its 10 C-27Js, designating them as primarily meant for use in HADR operations. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The RAAF's 10th and final C-27J Spartan aircraft landing on a grass airstrip at RAAF Base Richmond. The service has redefined the role of its 10 C-27Js, designating them as primarily meant for use in HADR operations. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Both Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld and the head of Air Force Capability, Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, praised the Spartan's performance, highlighting domestic bushfire relief and regional assistance, without giving any explanation for the amended role.

The announcement follows the failure of the twin-turboprop aircraft to achieve full operational capability (FOC) in December 2020: a milestone that had already been delayed by four years. It also comes after the platform had been identified as a DoD “project of interest” in March 2020 following its failure to meet key performance, availability, and project schedule requirements.

The C-27J had previously been consistently described by the RAAF as a battlefield aircraft to bridge the intra-theatre gap between army helicopters such as the CH-47F Chinook and the RAAF's C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster III transports.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/raaf-redefines-role-of-c-27j-spartan-fleet-to-focus-primarily-on-hadr-operations

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has redefined the role of its 10 Leonardo C-27J Spartan tactic...

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