PICTURES: Australia's first C-27J gets airborne

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Alenia Aermacchi has begun flight-testing its first C-27J tactical transports for Australia and Chad, and also finalised a contract with new Spartan customer Peru.

The Finmeccanica company on 19 December announced that the Royal Australian Air Force’s first of 10 C-27Js had performed a debut flight from its Caselle airport site in Turin, Italy.

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Alenia Aermacchi

Sporting air force colours and the service registration A34-001, Canberra’s lead aircraft is part of a project Air 8000 Phase 2 effort to replace Australia’s retired de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou light airlifters.

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Alenia Aermacchi

“The aircraft is currently undergoing final checks, in preparation for customer acceptance tests and procedures before its delivery to prime contractor L-3 Communications,” Alenia says. The US company will make modifications to the aircraft from 2014 under the terms of a Foreign Military Sales deal signed in 2012. All 10 Australian aircraft are due to be delivered before the end of 2015.

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Alenia Aermacchi

Meanwhile, the first of two C-27Js on order for Chad has also been photographed during flight tests performed from the Caselle site. With a desert camouflage scheme, the aircraft carries the registration 1401.

The planned acquisition of two Spartans for the Peruvian air force has also now been finalised, Alenia says, with the order worth in the region of €100 million ($137 million).