Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AO, welcomed the first RAAF C-27J Spartan battlefield airlift aircraft in Australia at a ceremony at RAAF Base Richmond.
The acquisition of the C-27J Spartan will fill a gap in Australia’s military capability for tactical fixed wing airlift, which has been left open since the retirement of the Caribou fleet in 2009.
Air Marshal Brown said the acquisition of ten C-27J aircraft, which has been planned since 2012, signifies a $1.4 billion investment in Australia’s airlift capability.
“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 Brown.
“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 C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster and will be able to carry medium-sized loads and access smaller runways that are not suited to other aircraft.
“This will allow Air Force to support humanitarian missions as well as battlefield airlift in remote locations and unprepared airstrips common in Australia’s region.
“Under Plan Jericho, the plan to transform Air Force into a 5th generation fighting force for the information age, the C-27J will operate within an integrated system that is more agile, has an extended reach and gathers and distributes information quicker and more efficiently than ever before.”
The C-27J aircraft provides protection from a range of threats through features such as missile warning systems, electronic self protection, secure communications and battlefield armour.
Initial Operational Capability for the C-27J fleet is planned for late 2016, with Final Operational Capability expected within the following two years.
The fleet of C-27J Spartan aircraft will initially be based at RAAF Base Richmond in New South Wales, until their permanent home at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland is completed.