Saturday April 19, 2014

First RAAF C-27J nears completion

The first C-27J undergoes final completion.

The first C-27J undergoes final completion.

Alenia Aermacchi has completed assembly of the RAAF’s first C-27J. With the aircraft structurally complete, the aircraft is currently undergoing equipment installation and functional tests.

Alenia said roll-out and test flights will occur during December with customer acceptance tests planned to follow soon thereafter. The first aircraft is expected to be delivered to in the first quarter of 2014.

Alenia Aermacchi is providing the C-27J to prime contractor L-3 Communications in support of a US Foreign Military Sale for 10 of the Caribou replacements.


15 Responses to “First RAAF C-27J nears completion”
  1. Geoffrey Payne says:

    I have supported this choice of aircraft since the purchase announcement, a few doubts have crept in to my mind.

    1. Why was the C 27 a failure in Afghanistan ?
    2. Why were the US C 27s gifted to the Afghanis ?

    The performance figures and compatibility do really look great and I wonder is this a peacetime aircraft only (which would nullify it’s purpose)

    Just throwing this out there for some opinions, I still favour this aircraft as a Caribou replacement (massive wings to fill)

  2. Andrew McLaughlin says:

    The C-27As (G.222s) gifted to Afghanistan were former US Army aircraft that had been in storage for a decade or more and which proved difficult to support by the OEM due to being out of production since the early 1990s.

    The C-27J, while the same basic airframe, has new engines, avionics and other systems that are compatible with more than 100 similar aircraft in service or on order.

  3. Peter says:

    Just a note the Afghan C-27 are former IAF 25 years old G-222 refurbished as C-27A but very far from the C-27J currently in production. By the Way Afghan planes were purchased with few spares.

  4. Andrew Pryor says:

    Hi Geoff. I’m not sure why you’re of the opinion the C-27 was a failure in Afghanistan but I’m happy to illuminate the subject. Take a look at the following link for feedback from the actual operators that deployed the capability: Andrew is correct in his description of the C-27A situation.

  5. Soda says:

    Does anyone know if the RAAF C-27Js are being plumber but not installed for AAR? I know the Italian ones are.

  6. Andrew McLaughlin says:

    Sorry Andrew Pryor – I should have clarified re the US ANG, Italian & Lithuanian C-27Js which have been very successful in Afghanistan.

    I believe our C-27Js will be plumbed for but not fitted with a refuelling probe – essentially the same configuration as the US ANG birds.

  7. Dane says:

    Isn’t the purchase of these aircraft still subject to an Audit inquiry?

  8. Allan says:

    Makes no sense to plumb but not fit the refuelling probe. Part of the capability offered by this aircraft was that is able to air refuel. Maybe the RAAF is thinking that the range is adequate without the probe which in all eventuality will probably be added sooner rather than later.

  9. Andrew McLaughlin says:

    Allan – The C-27J is being acquired as a tactical battlefield airlifter, so I assume the priority for A2A refuelling is very low. Fitting a refuelling probe would mean a change from the US ANG configuration and thus require different sustainment and support streams.

    Dane – I believe this has been resolved.

  10. Allan says:

    Fair point Andrew, Yes it will a capable Caribou replacement. I was just thinking of the long domestic legs the aircraft has to cover in order to support the ADF. Whether it`s for the special ops guys over in WA or 3Bde up in Townsville. Depending on the nature of the deployment and urgency there might be a need to fit the probe. Time will tell.

  11. Andrew McLaughlin says:

    For domestic ops, if it can’t do it in one hop it’s cheaper to land and refuel the C-27J en route than it is to launch a KC-30A to refuel it.

  12. Dane says:

    Does the C-27 have the performance to meet the KC-30 AAR envelope?

  13. Peter says:

    The IAF C-27J is qualified to be refueled by the IAF 767,I guess not so different envelope with KC-30, but the RAAF C-27J is not incorporating any provision for AAR (RAAF&USAF choice)!

  14. Martin says:

    While there are some good questions and answers, I will throw out another question:

    I recall reading around a year or more ago, perhaps in JDW, what seemed like a one-sided debate about the operating cost of the C-27J (as operated by ANG) compared to the Hercules in the US. As I recall, the claim was being made as part of some sort of acquisition review that the C-27J was more expensive to operate than the Hercules. I couldn’t understand how anyone could reach that conclusion unless the sustainment arrangement for the C-27J was lousy and that for the Hercules was brilliantly efficient (perhaps as a result of an economy of scale?). I conclude it must have come from a sector of the US military that was determined to push out the C-27J from US service.

    Does anyone know the background on this?

  15. Peter says:

    The C-27J got the same avionics and RR engines (but two only) of C-130J and it is difficult to believe can be more expensive than C-130J (ta least for thermodynamics reasons).
    The real is that being an A/C chosen for an US ARMY Program, USAF want to drop this choice (nothwistanding the aircraft qualities) and the C-27J is the victim of US DOD intercorps civil war!
    The USAF calculation were done with biased assumption in order to find the desired results.
    There are three US Services that want the plane SOCOM, US Coast Guard and even Forest Service, why?
    Read this interesting article and related comments.