The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) took delivery of its tenth and final C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter on March 18.
A ceremony to welcome the last Spartan took place at RAAF Base Richmond, New South Wales. Built by Leonardo, the C-27Js serve with No 35 Squadron, RAAF, in the battlefield airlift role.
After check flights at Leonardo’s Turin-Caselle facility in Italy, RAAF C-27Js were flown to L3 Aerospace Systems/Platform Integration in Waco, Texas. As prime contractor for the RAAF, L3 undertook systems integration for the C-27Js before delivery to the customer.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne, and Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, both attended the event at Richmond.
“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,” Minister Payne said. “The Spartan can carry up to five tonnes of cargo and is capable of moving troops, equipment and supplies; conducting aero-medical evacuation missions and conducting airdrops.”
Although No 35 Squadron currently operates the Spartan fleet from RAAF Base Richmond, the fleet will relocate to RAAF Base Amberley early next year.
“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,” Minister Payne said.
Initial operating capability for the Spartan was declared in late 2016, and final operating capability is scheduled to be declared in late 2019.
Earlier this year, a C-27J from No 35 Squadron deployed for the first time on Cope North as part of a humanitarian assistance scenario and provided aeromedical evacuation and air logistics support from Guam.