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Azerbaijan signs for Spartan airlifter

Seen in Romanian service, the C-27J will now be operated by Azerbaijan. (Leonardo)

Azerbaijan has agreed a deal with Leonardo for the procurement of the C-27J Spartan airlifter, the manufacturer announced on 8 June.

The procurement is part of a wider modernisation plan for the Azerbaijan Air Force (AzAF) and Air Defence Force, and was agreed during a visit to the Caucasian country by an Italian delegation.

“The agreement is part of the extensive modernisation programme of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, which are increasingly looking to the products of Italian industry,” Leoanrdo said.

Leonardo told Janes that it was unable to divulge details as to the number of aircraft involved in the deal nor the delivery timeline. It did note that the aircraft will be the Next Generation (NG) standard, which was launched in March and is now the new baseline configuration for all new customers.

This upgraded C-27J comprises new cockpit displays, weather radar, modern navigation, and communications equipment, as well as ‘advanced aerodynamic features'. While not specified by the company, images of the C-27J NG show these aerodynamic features to include winglets, and it might also include vanes, strakes, and other items designed to increase fuel efficiency and consequently payload/range/endurance. The standard Spartan has an 11 tonne payload and a 3,070 n mile (5,685 km; 3,532 mile) ferry range.

Prior to Azerbaijan, the Spartan has already been ordered by Australia, Bulgaria, Chad, Greece, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United States (although the US Air Force divested the type to the US Coast Guard and US Special Operations Command due to budgetary reasons), and Zambia.

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