The Royal Australian Air Force has received its tenth and final Alenia C-27J Spartan tactical transport.

“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 [Lockheed Martin] C-130J Hercules and [Boeing] C-17A Globemaster,” says defence minister Marise Payne.

“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 air drops.”

The aircraft operate with No. 35 squadron at RAAF Richmond. The squadron will relocate to RAAF Amberley in early 2019.

She adds that Northrop Grumman Australia will provide through life support for the fleet. The aircraft received their initial operating capability in late 2016, and should receive their final operating capability in late 2019.

In May 2012, Australia placed an order for ten C-27Js through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.

The C-27J succeeds the de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou aircraft under the AIR 8000 Phase 2 requirement. Although popular with the RAAF, the obsolescent Caribou was retired in 2009. The C-27J's rival for the requirement was the Airbus Military C-295.