RAAF Base Richmond, Australia — The first Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan airlifter for the Royal Australian Air Force was handed over in a ceremony Tuesday at Richmond, west of Sydney.
The aircraft is one of 10 on order for the RAAF, which are built as “green” airframes by Alenia Aermacchi in Italy and completed to US Joint Cargo Aircraft standards by L-3 Communications in Waco, Texas, under a US $1.4 billion foreign military sales deal.
Two RAAF C-27Js are already with L-3 to support training of Australian crews and one will be delivered to Australia in August.
The Spartans will provide a short-field tactical airlift capability to the RAAF that was lost when the elderly De Havilland Canada DHC-4A Caribou was retired at the end of 2009.
They will be operated by No. 35 squadron, which gained fame as “Wallaby Airlines” during the Vietnam war.
In one of his last formal duties before stepping down at the end of the week, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, RAAF chief, accepted the first Spartan on behalf of the commonwealth.
“The government’s decision to acquire the Spartan will give the Royal Australian Air Force the best tactical air mobility capability that we could acquire,” he said.
“The C-27J will also become the real workhorse in humanitarian disaster and relief operations.”