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C-27J Spartan
A Lithuanian Air Force C-27J
Role Military transport aircraft
National origin Italy / United States
Manufacturer Alenia Aeronautica
Primary users Italian Air Force
Hellenic Air Force
Bulgarian Air Force
Lithuanian Air Force
Developed from Aeritalia G.222
Variants Alenia AC-27J

The Alenia C-27J Spartan is a medium-sized military transport aircraft. The C-27J is an advanced derivative of Alenia Aeronautica's G.222 (C-27A Spartan in US service), with the engines and systems of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules. The aircraft was selected as the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) for the United States military.


Design and development

In 1995, Alenia and Lockheed Martin began discussions to improve Alenia's G.222 using C-130J's glass cockpit with a more powerful version of the G.222's T64G engine and four-blade propellers. The companies began a program for the improved G.222, named C-27J in 1996. This was a US military type designation based on the G.222's C-27A US designation. At this point the design included the C-130J Super Hercules's Rolls-Royce AE 2100 engine and six-blade propeller. Alenia and Lockheed Martin formed Lockheed Martin Alenia Tactical Transport Systems (LMATTS) for the development of C-27J in 1997.[1] The LMATTS joint venture was later dissolved when Lockheed Martin chose to offer the C-130J as a contender in the same U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) competition in which the C-27J was competing.[2] Alenia Aeronautica then paired with L-3 Communications to form the Global Military Aircraft Systems (GMAS) joint venture to market the C-27J.[3] Boeing Integrated Defense Systems later joined Alenia and L-3 Communications as a GMAS team member.[4]

A C-27J Spartan at the Paris Air Show

The C-27J has a 35% increase in range and a 15% faster cruise speed than the G.222.[1] The Italian Air Force, Hellenic Air Force, Bulgarian Air Force, Romanian Air Force, United States Army and the United States Air Force have ordered the C-27J. Alenia is offering Canada the C-27J as a CC-115 Buffalo replacement. Lithuania ordered the C-27J as an Antonov An-26 replacement.

The GMAS team bid the C-27J in the Joint Cargo Aircraft competition against Raytheon and EADS North America's C-295. Both the U.S. Army and Air Force JCA orders combined are expected to top 100 aircraft. The JCA will eventually replace the existing C-23 Sherpa, C-12 Huron and C-26 Metroliners in the Army National Guard, and will become a substitute tactical airlift platform for those Air National Guard airlift groups or airlift wings losing C-130E/H/J aircraft to retirement (C-130E) or Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) action redistribution of aircraft (C-130H/C-130J).[5][6]

The C-27J had completed the U.S. Department of Defense's Early User Survey evaluations by November 2006, flying 26 hours and surpassing all the JCA program requirements. The GMAS team also announced that the C-27J will be assembled at a facility at Cecil Field, Duval County, Florida.[7] While the final selection of the JCA was expected to be announced in March 2007, the decision came on 13 June 2007, when the Pentagon selected the C-27J as its Joint Cargo Aircraft.[6] A contract worth US$2.04 billion was awarded to the L-3 Communications team for 78 C-27Js along with training and support on 13 June 2007.[8]

A C-27J during ground handling

On 22 June 2007, Raytheon formally protested the award of the JCA contract to the Alenia C-27J.[9] On 27 September 2007, the GAO announced that it had denied Raytheon’s protest, thereby allowing the Pentagon to go ahead with the C-27J procurement.[10] Prior to Raytheon's protest, the first C-27J aircraft were to begin delivery to the joint US Army-Air Force test and training program in June 2008.[11] The first flight of a US C-27J occurred on 17 June 2008.[12]

The C-27J was being considered as a sole-source contract by the Government of Canada as a future replacement for its current search and rescue airfleet, the contract being worth approximately C$3 billion as of January 2007.[13]

Romania ordered seven C-27Js for delivery from 2008 to replace Antonov An-24 and An-26 aircraft, beating the EADS CASA C-295.[14] However, the order was blocked by the government in February 2007 upon a legal challenge filed by EADS.[15]. In June 2007, the order was confirmed again when the Romanian court rejected EADS' complaint.[16] The Romanian government officially signed a contract for the delivery of seven C-27Js on 7 December 2007.[17]

The C-27J is a probable contender for a Royal Australian Air Force requirement for light airlifer to replace its recently retired DHC-4 Caribou.[18]

A C-27J during "Giornata Azzurra 2007"

Currently orders stand at Italy (12), Greece (12 + 3 options), Bulgaria (5), Lithuania (3), Morocco (4), Romania (7), and United States (78).[17][19][20]

The US Air Force is shifting US$32 million from the Pentagon's 2008 budget to purchase a C-27J for the Air Force Special Operations Command. The AC-27J will be equipped using proven hardware and systems to reduce risk.[21][22][23]

Operational history

Italy received its first C-27J in October 2006.[24] The Italian Air Force deployed two C-27Js to Afghanistan from 12 September 2008 to 27 January 2009 in support NATO airlift operations.[25][26]

On 13 November 2007, the first C-27J was delivered to the Bulgarian Air Force.[19]

The United States received its first C-27J on 25 September 2008.[27] It has been proposed, in May 2009, that the US Army/Army National Guard lose all of their aircraft to the US Air Force, primarily the Air National Guard, and the total buy reduced in half to 38 aircraft.[28] As of April 2009, the Army had accepted deliveries of two aircraft and had 11 more on order.[29]

The Canadian Forces Air Command has identified the C-27J as one of two candidates to replace the de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo and would be purchasing 15 aircraft.[30]

It was announced on 21 August 2009 that Taiwan had entered price negotiotians with Alenia Aeronautica for the sale of six C-27J Spartan aircraft.[31] The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Ghana of four C-27Js on 9 September 2009. [32]


World operators of the C-27J Spartan
A C-27J in a banked turn
  • Italian Air Force: 12 aircraft on order, full optional (Digital Map, HUD, Aerial Refueling Probes), 11 received.
  • Romanian Air Force: 7 aircraft ordered with 1 operational as of August 2009, and another 6 are scheduled to arrive from 2010 through 2012.[34]
 United States

Specifications (C-27J)

C-27J Spartan with prop vortices condensation at the Paris Air Show.

Data from Alenia Aeronautica,[36] C-27J facts[37]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Three: pilot, co-pilot, loadmaster
  • Capacity: 60 troops or 46 paratroops or 36 litters with 6 medical personnel
  • Length: 22.7 m (74 ft 6 in)
  • Wingspan: 28.7 m (94 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 9.64 m (31 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 82 m2 (880 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 17,000 kg (37,479 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 30,500 kg (67,241 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce AE2100-D2A turboprop, 3,460 kW (4,640 hp) each
  • Propellers: 6-bladed Dowty Propeller 391/6-132-F/10, 4.15 m (13 ft 7 in) diameter


  • Maximum speed: 602 km/h (374 mph; 325 kn)
  • Cruising speed: 583 km/h (362 mph; 315 kn)
  • Minimum control speed: 194 km/h; 121 mph (105 kn)
  • Range: 4,260 km (2,647 mi; 2,300 nmi) at full load
  • Ferry range: 5,926 km (3,682 mi; 3,200 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 9,144 m (30,000 ft)

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft


  1. ^ a b Frawley, Gerald. "LMATTS C-27J Spartan". The International Directory of Military Aircraft, 2002/2003. Aerospace Publications, 2002. ISBN 1-875671-55-2.
  2. ^ "LM To Join JCA Competition With Four-Engine Offering".  
  3. ^ C-27J Team
  4. ^ Boeing Jumps on JCA Competition
  5. ^ "C-27J successfully completes Army, Air Force early user survey", Aerotech News and Review, 2006-12-01
  6. ^ a b c d "C-27J tapped for Joint Cargo Aircraft".  
  7. ^ "New Cargo Planes To Be Built in Cecil Field".  
  8. ^ C-27J Spartan named as Joint Cargo Aircraft
  9. ^ "Raytheon details dispute over $2B deal".  
  10. ^ Tiron, Roxanna (27 September 2007). "GAO denies protest over Joint Cargo Aircraft contract", Retrieved 28 September 2007.
  11. ^ "Joint Cargo Aircraft delivery starts in a year".  
  12. ^ Tremble, Stephen. "First C-27J for JCA contract makes first flight"., 17 June 2008.
  13. ^ "DND to look at single bid for search planes: report".  
  14. ^ "Spartan Order." Aviation Week & Space Technology. 11 December 2006
  15. ^ "EADS Taking Aim At C-27J in Romania"
  16. ^ "Romania Unblocks C-27J Selection"
  17. ^ a b "Romania Signs Deal for 7 C-27Js".  
  18. ^ La Franchi, Peter. "Australia to compete Caribou replacement", Flight International, 24 August 2007.
  19. ^ a b "Alenia Aeronautica delivers the first C-27J to the Bulgarian Air Force", Alenia Aeronautica, 13 November 2007.
  20. ^ Alenia Aeronautica Signs Contract Worth 130 Million Euro to Supply Four C-27Js to Morocco
  21. ^ Butler, Amy. "DOD eyes one C-27J for conversion to SOF Gunship Lite", Aviation Week, 25 July 2008.
  22. ^ AC-XX Gunship Lite Prototype: A C-27J “Baby Spooky”,
  23. ^ Schanz, Marc V. "Filling the Gunship Gap", Air Force magazine, 18 August 2008.
  24. ^ Wastnage, Justin. "Italy takes delivery of first of 12 C-27J Spartans developed by Alenia with Lockheed Martin"., 26 October 2006.
  25. ^ Peruzzi, Luca. "Italian air force deploys C-27J Spartans to Afghanistan". Flight International, 19 September 2008.
  26. ^ Nativi, Andy. "Italian C-27Js Complete Afghanistan Ops". Aviation Week, 30 January 2009.
  27. ^ "L-3 Presents First Joint Cargo Aircraft to U.S. Army and Air Force", L3 Communications, 25 September 2008.
  28. ^ Tiron, Roxana "Lawmakers press Gates to keep program"
  29. ^ Trimble, Stephen "Army orders for the C27J"
  30. ^ "C-27J Spartan"., 12 April 2009.
  31. ^ "Taiwan moves on purchase of C-27J Spartans"., 21 August 2009.
  32. ^ "DSCA notification of possible sale to Ghana". DSCA, 9 September 2009.
  33. ^ Thisdell, Dan. "Lithuania gets third Spartan ready for Afghan mission". Flight International, 19 October 2009.
  34. ^ Romania's First C-27J prepares for delivery, Air Forces Monthly magazine, September 2009 issue, p. 13.
  35. ^ "Slovak government confirmed purchase of Spartan". SME, 19 December 2008. {english translation)
  36. ^ Alenia Aeronautica official site
  37. ^ C-27J essential facts,
  • Eden, Paul, ed. "Alenia G222 and C-27, Mini-Hercules". Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft. Amber Books, 2004. ISBN 1904687849.

External links



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