First RAAF C-27J enters final assembly

The RAAF's first C-27J Spartan about to undergo final assembly. (Alenia Aermacchi)

The RAAF’s first C-27J Spartan tactical transport has entered final assembly at Alenia Aermacchi’s Turin plant.

The fuselage for the future A34-001 was manufactured at Alenia Aermacchi’s Capodichino, Naples site before being transported to Turin via road and sea freight for final assembly.

Australia has ordered 10 Spartans to replace the Caribou retired three years ago, with the first C-27J scheduled to arrive in Australia in early 2015.  To be operated by the re-forming 35SQN at RAAF Richmond, the C-27J will provide airlift capability between the Army’s CH-47 Chinooks and RAAF 37SQN C-130J Hercules.

As reported in the November issue of Australian Aviation, the C-27J has seen active service with the USAF’s 135th airlift group in Afghanistan.  During its operation there, Colonel Thomas Hans was enthusiastic about the aircraft’s performance, saying: “On a scale of one to 10, I’d rate it a 10.  It has some great capabilities and seems to be suited for the tactical airlift mission.  If you want efficiency with small loads very frequently in a dynamic battlefield or natural disaster, the C-27J is the right fit for that job.”

Comments

  1. Andy says

    10 isnt really enough !

    Look what happen when we got the C-17, we need more, and RAAF still need more.

    The ADF will never enough airlift capacity, for all operational requirements

    Will be the same with the C-27J …. How many are actually required to meet all demands of the service?

    Does anybody know?

  2. John N says

    Andy,

    Yes more is always better, if it can be afforded, which we can’t with the Defence budget down to 1.5% of GDP, but Air Lift Group is doing pretty well, see below:

    * 2006 – 47 Aircraft – capacity for 3775 passengers – carry 656 tonnes of cargo.

    * 2016 – 46 Aircraft – capacity for 4321 passengers – carry 950 tonnes of cargo.

    * Average age of the ALG fleet down from 24 years to 9 years

    So yes, whilst over the 10 year period shown above there will be a decrease of 1 aircraft in total, there has been a significant increase in lift capacity of both passengers and especially cargo capacity, from 656t to 950t.

    We’ve all heard the stats on the C17A’s, approx 3 to 4 times the volume or cargo weight of a C130, depending on how it’s measured, 6 C17A’s equate to approx two Sqn’s of Hercs and we still have the 12 C130J-30’s in service too.

    The KC30A’s, apart from the AAR capability, can each carry 270 passengers, plus fill the below deck cargo hold too.

    If you compare the Caribou to the C27J, Caribou 34 troops (60 C27J), payload 3,628kg (11,500kg C27J), significant increase in both speed and range too.

    So yes, ALG is “only” getting 10 C27J’s, but as you can see with the stats, thats double the passenger capacity, and more than three times the cargo capacity of a Caribou, that the equivalent of 20-30 Caribou if you want to measure it that way.

    This capability has been a very very long time coming, not long now! And yes again, more might be better, but compared to what is happening in the rest of the ADF, Air Lift Group is doing pretty well.

    Cheers,

    John

  3. Air Observer says

    I think this will be one of those aircraft that really fits Australia and was certainly a capability we could have used during the floods. It can’t match STOL stats for the Caribou… but what does? Great hot and high though, something that can really limit heavy haul.

  4. Observer says

    John I appreciate the stats you’ve been dishing out on this topic and others even though we disagree on some other things, your info is spot on. Unlike other individuals its good to have a healthy respect for others and there thoughts even if they differ from your own.

  5. John N says

    Observer,

    Mate, I do respect the opinions of all, seriously I do, agree or not, well maybe not a certain APA person and I’m not alone there, anyway, that’s another story……..

    The biggest problem with “defence” discussions, is that’s it’s not like the other things that concerns the general public, like heath, education, taxation, etc, etc, where we as a group have a pretty good idea of what the real truth is, and can debate it.

    Unfortunately the level of both defence reporting by the “popular” media and the knowledge by the general public is seriously lacking, and that’s pretty sad really, considering how important defence is.

    I’m always happy to agree to disagree with anyone, as long as we are all on the same page, eg compare apples with apples, then there will always be a difference of opinion.

    But as I said, all to often, statements are made from ingnorance,mostly not that particular persons fault, just reality is all.

    Anway Observer, look forward to more healthy debate in 2013!!!

    Cheers,

    John

  6. Chas says

    I did most of my career on Caribou and probably have more time in 35 Squadron than anyone else and am really pleased to see Wallaby Airlines come back. I was one of the last 35 Sqn WOE’s and would love to be the WOE to bring in the Spartan which looks like it will be a great aircraft. I guess it wont be able to do some of the more exciting strips in PNG but then it’ll fly higher , faster and in more comfort..

  7. John says

    As great as it is that we are ordering such a fantastic aircraft, like all aircraft and for the matter any military equipment, we NEVER order enough, not at least to defend us as a nation. So take notice beauracrats, don’t speak your own mind, because your judgement has got to be the worst anyone could witness! If we were serious about the defence of our country, I’d be ordering at least 40 more of these aircraft, a further 24 C-17 Globemaster III’s and ressurecting ever availible F-111 sitting in the boneyards in the US, or more daring, ordering Su-34 bombers. Atop of that I’d also be buying at least 48 more F/A-18F Super Hornets (12 of them to Growler configuration) and when the cost comes way down in the future; at least 100 F-35A and 20 F-35B (10 for each Canberra Class LHD) – That would be part of restoring the defence of our country and making us a regional power again!

  8. Raymond says

    John – very nice I must say, but dreams are free buddy. And I assume you have a Rolls-Royce, a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, two Bentleys and three Porsches in your garage? Does ‘budget’ come to mind??

  9. pez says

    Where do people come up with these fantasy fleet ideas?? Seriously, I’m all for a bit of ‘what-if’ but 24 C-17s? Su-34s?? Bring back F-111s? WTF?

    Could I ask that people please stop reading those Sovi- I mean Russian “advertorial” things in avaition mags and thinking they’re true?

    Would I like a few more C-27s? Sure. Do I think 6 C-17s is enough? Probably not, but remember, once you’ve got the capability, it’s much easier to ask for a few dollars more to ‘top up’ the order. If you think for a second that ALG didn’t have at least 6 C-17s in mind when they ordered the original 4, you’re dreaming worse than John and his Su-34s :-)

  10. Raymond says

    If it wasn’t for the current Government’s incompetence when it comes to financial management, there might actually be more money available to fund the things that really matter, like adequate defence spending.

    Despite all of the spin that the Defence Minister puts out to justify the present situation with defence funding, the reality is they have squandered vast amounts of money since they came to power in 2007. Some facts:

    * Government debt inherited when the Coalition came to power in 1996: $96 billion
    * Government debt remaining when the Coalition left office in 2007: $0
    * Budget position when Labor came to power in 2007: Surplus and $60 billion in savings
    * Budget position since 2007: Rolling deficits
    * Last time Labor delivered a budget surplus: 1990
    * Current Government debt: over $147 billion
    * Current Government debt interest payments: almost $20 million per day

    Do I need to further explain why the Government has had to reduce defence spending?

    ADF funding should be 2.0% of GDP as a minimum. It is currently 1.59% – the lowest since 1938. Totally disgraceful.

    You know who I WON’T be voting for on September 14.