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An Alenia C-27J in flight.

The Alenia C-27J Spartan is a medium-sized military transport aircraft. The C-27J is an advanced derivative of the company's G.222 (C-27A Spartan in US service), with the engines and systems of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules. The aircraft was selected as the Joint Cargo Aircraft for the United States military.

Design and development[]

In 1997, Alenia and Lockheed Martin formed Lockheed Martin Alenia Tactical Transport Systems (LMATTS) for the development of an advanced version of the G.222 with advanced avionics, a glass cockpit and new engines, the same Rolls-Royce AE 2100s that power the C-130J Super Hercules. The LMATTS joint venture was later dissolved when Lockheed Martin chose to offer the C-130J as a contender in the same U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) competition in which the C-27J was competing.[1] Alenia Aeronautica then paired with L-3 Communications to form the Global Military Aircraft Systems (GMAS) joint venture to market the C-27J.[2] Boeing Integrated Defense Systems later joined Alenia and L-3 Communications as a GMAS team member.[3]

The C-27J has a 35% increase in range and a 30% increase in service ceiling over the original G.222. The Italian Air Force, Hellenic Air Force, Bulgarian Air Force, Romanian Air Force, United States Army and the United States Air Force have ordered the C-27J. Alenia is offering Canada the C-27J as a CC-115 Buffalo replacement. Lithuania ordered the C-27J as Antonov An-26 replacement.

The GMAS team promoted the C-27J in the U.S. Army and Air Force's Joint Cargo Aircraft competition against Raytheon and EADS North America's C-295. Both the U.S. Army and Air Force JCA orders combined are expected to top 100 aircraft. The JCA will eventually replace the existing C-23 Sherpa, C-12 Huron and C-26 Metroliners.[4][5]

The C-27J had completed the U.S. Department of Defense's Early User Survey evaluations by November 2006, flying 26 hours and surpassing all the JCA program requirements. The GMAS team also announced that the C-27J will be assembled at a facility at Cecil Field, Duval County, Florida.[6] While the final selection of the JCA was expected to be announced in March 2007, the decision came on 13 June 2007, when the Pentagon selected the C-27J as its Joint Cargo Aircraft.[5] A contract worth US$2.04 billion was awarded to the L-3 Communications team for 78 C-27Js along with training and support on June 13, 2007.[7] On 22 June 2007, Raytheon formally protested the award of the JCA contract to the Alenia C-27J.[8] On 27 September 2007, the GAO announced that it had denied Raytheon’s protest, thereby allowing the Pentagon to go ahead with the C-27J procurement.[9] Prior to Raytheon's protest, the first C-27J aircraft were to begin delivery to the joint U.S. Army-Air Force test and training program in June 2008.[10] The first flight of a US C-27J occurred on 17 June 2008.[11]

The C-27J was being considered as a sole-source contract by the Government of Canada as a future replacement for its current search and rescue airfleet, the contract being worth approximately C$3 billion as of January 2007.[12]

Romania ordered seven C-27Js for delivery from 2008 to replace Antonov An-24 and An-26 aircraft, beating the EADS CASA C-295.[13] However, the order was blocked by the government in February 2007 upon a legal challenge filed by EADS.[14]. In June 2007, the order was confirmed again when the Romanian court rejected EADS' complaint.[15] The Romanian government officially signed a contract for the delivery of seven C-27Js on December 7, 2007.[16]

The C-27J is a probable contender for a Royal Australian Air Force requirement for light airlifer to replace its aging DHC-4 Caribou.[17]

On November 13, 2007, the first C-27J was delivered to the Bulgarian Air Force.[18] Currently orders stand at Italy (12), Greece (12 + 3 options), Bulgaria (5), Lithuania (3) Romania (7), and United States (78).[16][18]

US Air Force is shifting US$32 million from the Pentagon's 2008 budget to purchase a C-27J for its Special Operations Command. The AC-27J will be equipped using proven hardware and systems to reduce risk.[19][20][21]

Operational history[]

Italy received its first C-27J in October 2006.[22] The Italian Air Force deployed two C-27Js to Afghanistan on 12 September 2008 to support NATO airlift operations there.[23]

The United States received its first C-27J on 25 September 2008.[24]


File:Alenia C27J Spartan 04.jpg

A C-27J in a banked turn

  • Bulgarian Air Force are expected to receive 5 aircraft through 2011 (1 delivered).
  • Italian Air Force 12 aircraft, full optional (Digital Map, HUD, Aerial Refueling Probes) (8 delivered).
  • Libyan Air Force 4 aircraft ordered.[verification needed]
  • Lithuanian Air Force 3 aircraft (1 delivered).
  • Romanian Air Force 7 aircraft (first Spartan to arrive at the end of 2008, and another 6 are expected to arrive through 2012).
  • United States Army - requirement for up to 75 aircraft.[5] The first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered by the end of September 2008.
  • United States Air Force - requirement for up to 70 aircraft.[5]

Specifications (C-27J)[]

File:C27J Spartan.jpg

An C-27J Spartan with condensation at the Paris Air Show.


See also[]

Related development

  • Aeritalia G.222
  • Alenia AC-27J
  • C-130J Super Hercules

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. LM To Join JCA Competition With Four-Engine Offering.
  2. C-27J Team
  3. Boeing Jumps on JCA Competition
  4. "C-27J successfully completes Army, Air Force early user survey", Aerotech News and Review, 2006-12-01
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 C-27J tapped for Joint Cargo Aircraft.
  6. New Cargo Planes To Be Built in Cecil Field.
  7. C-27J Spartan named as Joint Cargo Aircraft
  8. Raytheon details dispute over $2B deal.
  9. Tiron, Roxanna (27 September 2007). "GAO denies protest over Joint Cargo Aircraft contract", Retrieved 28 September 2007.
  10. Joint Cargo Aircraft delivery starts in a year.
  11. Tremble, Stephen. "First C-27J for JCA contract makes first flight",, 17 June 2008.
  12. DND to look at single bid for search planes: report. Archived from the original on 2007-01-09.
  13. "Spartan Order." Aviation Week & Space Technology. December 11, 2006
  14. "EADS Taking Aim At C-27J in Romania"
  15. "Romania Unblocks C-27J Selection"
  16. 16.0 16.1 Romania Signs Deal for 7 C-27Js.
  17. La Franchi, Peter. "Australia to compete Caribou replacement", Flight International, 24 August, 2007.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Alenia Aeronautica delivers the first C-27J to the Bulgarian Air Force", Alenia Aeronautica, November 13, 2007.
  19. Butler, Amy. "DOD eyes one C-27J for conversion to SOF Gunship Lite", Aviation Week, 25 July 2008.
  20. AC-XX Gunship Lite Prototype: A C-27J “Baby Spooky”,
  21. Schanz, Marc V. "Filling the Gunship Gap", Air Force magazine, 18 August 2008.
  22. Wastnage, Justin. "Italy takes delivery of first of 12 C-27J Spartans developed by Alenia with Lockheed Martin"., 26 October 2006.
  23. Peruzzi, Luca. "Italian air force deploys C-27J Spartans to Afghanistan". Flight International, 19 September 2008.
  24. "L-3 Presents First Joint Cargo Aircraft to U.S. Army and Air Force", L3 Communications, 25 September 2008.

External links[]


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