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C-27A Spartan
A USAF C-27A Spartan out of Howard AFB, Panama
Role Military transport aircraft
Manufacturer Fiat / Aeritalia / Alenia
First flight 18 July 1970
Introduced April 1978
Primary users Italian Air Force
Afghan National Army Air Corps
Libyan Air Force
United States Air Force
Variants C-27J Spartan

The Aeritalia G.222 (formerly Fiat Aviazione, now Alenia) is a medium-sized STOL military transport aircraft. It was developed to meet a NATO specification, but Italy was initially the only NATO member to adopt the type. The United States purchased a small number of G.222s, designating them the C-27A Spartan.[1][2][3][4] The C-27J Spartan is a more modern development with the engines and systems of the C-130J Super Hercules.



In 1962, NATO issued a specification for a V/STOL transport aircraft (NATO Basic Military Requirement 4), capable of supporting dispersed V/STOL fighters, with Fiat's design team, lead by Giuseppe Gabrelli, producing a design to meet this requirement, designated G.222, powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines and with six to eight Rolls-Royce RB162 lift engines to give VTOL capability.[5] Although none of the submissions resulted in a production contract, the Italian Air Force, felt that the Fiat Aviazione proposal was worthy of development and ordered two prototypes plus a ground-test airframe in 1968. These aircraft were slightly simplified from the original proposal, omitting the lift engines and substituting a pair of General Electric T64s for the Darts.[6] The first prototype flew on 18 July 1970, and the Air Force began evaluating the two prototypes at the end of December 1971. Testing proved successful, and a contract for 44 aircraft was issued to Aeritalia (of which Fiat Aviazione had since become a part),[7] the first aircraft entering service in April 1978.[8]

In 1977, Libya tried to buy 20 G.222s, but the U.S. Government, who had imposed an embargo on the supply of military equipment to Libya, vetoed the sale of T-64 engines. To get around this restriction, Aeritalia developed a version of the G.222 powered by the Rolls-Royce Tyne engine, and with other US supplied equipment replaced by European equivalents to avoid boycotts, the more powerful Tyne engine giving better "hot and high" performance.[9] An order of 20 Tyne powered aircraft for Libya followed.

A C-27A from Howard AFB, Panama, taxies in after landing at McChord AFB, Washington.

In 1990, the United States Air Force selected the G.222 as the basis of a "Rapid-Response Intra-Theater Airlifter" (RRITA). Designated as the C-27A Spartan, ten G.222s were purchased and underwent avionics upgrades by Chrysler Aerospace. These aircraft were stationed at Howard AFB, Panama,[10] but were withdrawn from service in 1999.


The G.222 is of typical configuration for aircraft of its type, with high-mounted wings, twin turboprop engines, and a rear loading ramp. The cargo deck is sized to accommodate standard 463L pallets, has a door in the floor for airdropping, a built-in oxygen delivery system for medevac operations, and platforms at the side doors for paratroop deployment.

The G.222 is one of the few cargo planes capable of flying loops and other maneuvers such as flying at about 80-90 kts (with the cargo door in the back open) and short track landing (takes only about 300 m to stop the plane after touching the ground when empty).

Operational history

Used in combat operations for the first time by Ejercito Argentino (Argentine Army) in the 1982 Falklands War. Widely engaged in all peace keeping/enforcing missions carried out by Italian armed forces between 1980 and 2005.

On 3 September 1992 one Aeronautica Militare Italiana (Italian Air Force) G.222 operating for a United Nations relief mission, was shot down when approaching Sarajevo airfield. The crash site was located 18 miles (29 km) away from the airfield; the NATO rescue mission aborted when the 2 USMC CH-53 helicopters were fired upon with small arms. The cause of the crash was determined to be a surface to air missile, but it was not clear who shot it. All the crew members, four Italian and four French passengers, died.[11][12]


Italian Air Force Alenia G.222RM radio and radar calibration aircraft
Italian Air Force G.222A at RIAT 2009
Initial designation, two prototypes for the Italian Air Force
Standard transport version for the Italian Air Force
(Radiomisura - "radio measurements")- radio/radar calibration aircraft
(Sistema Aeronautico Antincendio - "aeronautical fire-fighting system") - fire-fighter equipped for dumping water or fire retardant chemicals. Four built for Italian Air Force
Version powered by the Rolls-Royce Tyne for the Libyan Air Force. Sometimes designated G.222L
(Versione Speciale - "special version") ECM version - two built for Italian Air Force. Sometimes designated G.222GE.
C-27A Spartan 
Ten G.222s purchased for the United States Air Force.
C-27J Spartan 


A Royal Thai Air Force G.222 during an emergency evacuation exercise at COBRA GOLD '01, with a US Army UH-60Q Black Hawk MEDEVAC helicopter
  • Afghan National Army Air Corps - 18 former Italian Air Force aircraft to be upgraded by Alenia and provided to the Afghan Air Force by the US. Deliveries to begin in September 2009.[13][14]
 United Arab Emirates
  • Italian Air Force - Operated a total of 52 aircraft: 42 G.222A/TCM, 4 G.222RM, 5 G.222SAA, and 1 G.222VS. Officially retired from Air Force inventory, but at least 1 RM and 1 VS aircraft still operational.
  • Nigerian Air Force - 5 aircraft delivered between 1984 and '85. Alenia Aeronautica is currently updating this aircraft. 1 ex-Italian Air Force aircraft ordered in 2008.
  • Air Force - 5 aircraft.
  • Air Force - 2 aircraft.
 United States
  • United States Air Force - Operated 10 C-27A (1990-99)
  • US Department of State - 4 C-27A (ex-USAF) based out of Patrick AFB, Florida, in support of counter-narcotics activities in South America, primarily Colombia transporting personnel and supplies.

Specifications (G.222)

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988-89[16]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Four - commander, co-pilot, radio-operator/flight engineer on flightdeck, loadmaster
  • Capacity: 9,000 kg (19,840 lb) of cargo, 53 troops or 36 litters
  • Length: 22.70 m (74 ft 5½ in)
  • Wingspan: 28.70 m (94 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 9.80 m (32 ft 1¾ in)
  • Wing area: 82.0 m² (893 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 14,590 kg (32,165 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 28,000 kg (61,730 lb)
  • Powerplant:General Electric T64-GE-P4D turboprop, 2,535 kW (3,400 shp) each


See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft


  1. ^ Donald, David; Jon Lake (2000). The Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft. NY, NY: Barnes & Noble. p. 426. ISBN 0-7607-2208-0. 
  2. ^ Frawley, Gerard (2002). The International Directory of Military Aircraft, 2002-2003. Fyshwick, ACT, Australia: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd. p. 44. ISBN 1-875671-55-2. 
  3. ^ L-3 Press Release
  4. ^ Finmeccanica Press Release
  5. ^ Air International April 1977, pp. 163-164.
  6. ^ Air International April 1977, pp. 164, 166.
  7. ^ Air International April 1977, pp. 167-168.
  8. ^ Taylor 1988, p.143.
  9. ^ Air International April 1979, pp. 170-173.
  10. ^ Donald and Lake 1996, p. 29.
  11. ^ Sudetic, Chuck (1992-09-04). "U.N. Relief Plane Reported Downed On Bosnia Mission - The New York Times". Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  12. ^ "UN fears aid aircraft was shot down by missile - News". The Independent. 1992-09-04. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  13. ^ Kington, Tom (2008-02-27). "Italian G-222s Ready for Afghan Use". Army Times Publishing Company. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  14. ^ Kington, Tom. "First Refurbished G.222 Ready for Afghan Air Force". Army Times Publishing Company, 6 July 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  15. ^ Alenia G.222 image on Argentine military site
  16. ^ Taylor 1988, pp. 143-144.
  • "Two Twenty Two - Aeritalia's Airlifter". Air International. April 1977, Vol 12 No. 4. pp. 163-170, 202.
  • "An Italian Mini-Hercules:The Versatile Two-Twenty-Two". Air International, April 1979, Vol 16 No. 4. pp. 170-173, 197-98.
  • Donald, David and Lake, Jon. Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Single Volume Edition. London:Aerospace Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1 874023 95 6.
  • Eden, Paul, ed. "Alenia G222 and C-27, Mini-Hercules". Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft. Amber Books, 2004. ISBN 1904687849.
  • Taylor, John W.R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988-89. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Defence Data, 1988. ISBN 0 7106-0867-5.

External links



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