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The US Coast Guard has brought its latest arrival to Farnborough, as it celebrates service entry of the HC-27J in style.

Parked in the US corral, the Spartan started operating from its new Sacramento air station home on 1 April, performing search and rescue and tactical transport missions.

“As a search and rescue platform it’s very good; with the range and speed it can stay on station for quite a while to meet our needs,” says USCG Cdr Pete Beavis. “Endurance is around 10h – which is more than my back can take.”

The aircraft on show had previously been placed in long-term storage by the US Air Force, following the 2012 cancellation of its Joint Cargo Aircraft programme.

However, a 2014 decision restored 14 of the Leonardo-built medium transport to operational use, with the USCG handing over 14 ageing Lockheed Martin C-130Hs to the US Forest Service as a trade-off.

Sacramento will operate six HC-27Js, with a similar number to be based at Clearwater air station in Florida and the remainder retained for training, says Lt Cdr Ryan Allen, USCG C4ISR platform manager.

“The C-27J is the perfect fit for the mission set,” Allen says, also highlighting the ease of pilot transition between its C-130Js and the Spartan.

With the Italian-built platform now entering USCG service, Leonardo is looking to the USA’s northern neighbour for its next search and rescue application.

The company is one of two contenders for Canada’s Fixed Wing Search and Rescue requirement, along with the Airbus Defence & Space C295.

Test flights of both aircraft have now been performed by Royal Canadian Air Force personnel, ahead of a selection before year-end.

Source: Flight Daily News