The first of ten Alenia C-27J tactical transports for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has arrived in country.
“This acquisition represents a commitment to Australia’s air power capability which is a critical element of Australia’s national security and defence strategy,” said Air Marshal Geoff Brown, head of the RAAF.
“The C-27J will strengthen the Australia Defence Force’s air lift capability by increasing our ability to move troops, equipment and supplies. The aircraft will complement the capabilities of the [Lockheed Martin] C-130J Hercules and [Boeing] C-17A Globemaster and will be able to carry medium-sized loads and access smaller runways that are not suited to other aircraft.”
Initial Operational Capability for the RAAF’s C-27Js is planned for late 2016. The RAAF’s second, third, and fourth examples are in Waco, Texas where L-3, which converts green aircraft to the Joint Cargo Aircraft configuration, is providing crew and maintenance training.
The work takes three months, and involves the fitting of an electronic warfare and infrared countermeasures suite, US-standard communications equipment and ballistic matting around the cockpit and loadmaster’s station.
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.
One concern with the Caribou had been its inability to operate in all but the most permissible airspace.
Source: Flight International