Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Feb 2017 Contents C-27J
At L3 Communications, Waco, Texas, the 10
Australian C-27J Spartans were equipped with
missile warning systems, electronic self-protection
and battlefield armour allowing them to operate
freely in high-threat environments.
SUPPORTING THE SPARTAN
The Spartan has great interoperability with other
fixed wing members of the airlift fleet by using
common C-130J Hercules infrastructure and aircraft
systems such as engines, avionics and the cargo
handling systems, and the same pallet handling
system as used on the C-17A Globemaster III heavy
In 2014 Defence ordered extra Spartan spare
parts from L3 Communications. Overall, the
Australian spares contracts cover warehousing,
packing, handling, shipping, transportation and
item unique identification. Altogether Australia has
committed to $US125.9 million ($A170 million
at current exchange rates) to spares contracts,
indicating a serious commitment to maintaining
readiness of the Spartan fleet.
" L-3 Communications has worked closely with
the Royal Australian Air Force on projects and is
continuing today with the C-27J," s aid Bruce Trego,
vice president and chief operating officer of L-3
Communications. "We have worked closely with the
Royal Australian Air Force, the US Air Force and our
partner, Alenia Aermacchi, to deliver the aircraft to
support the initial operational capability."
Trego said that in-country support for the C-27J in
Australia will be provided by Airbus Group Australia
Pacific, providing a seamless transition from
RAAF STRATEGIC AND TACTICAL
AIRLIFT FLEET NOW COMPLETE
Most interested military aviation observers and
commentators have been impressed by the
reinvigoration of the RAAFs strategic and tactical
airlift fleets. Some aircraft provide substantial
additional airlift capability, even though they are
dedicated primarily to other purposes. The most
obvious example is the Multi-Role Tanker Transport
(MRTT) for in-flight refuelling of F/A-18A/B
Hornets, F/A-18F Super Hornets, and when fully
operational, E-7A Wedgetail, C-17A Globemaster
III and other KC-30As, plus P-8A Poseidon
sur veillance aircraft and F-35A Lightning II when
these aircraft enter service.
The RAAF’s airlift star is undoubtedly the C-17A
Globemaster III which has proved its worth in
numerous important deployments. The Air Force
states it provides ‘unprecedented capacity for
strategic air lift.
‘ It has three times the carrying capacity of the
C-130 Hercules, allowing Australia to rapidly deploy
troops, supplies, combat vehicles, heavy equipment
and helicopters any where in the world. It can carry
up to 77 tonnes, ranging from an Abrams Tank, four
Bushmaster vehicles, three Black Hawk helicopters,
or be converted to an aero-medical
The C-130J Hercules is a medium-
sized tactical air lifter. Capable of
carrying 120 passengers, or seven
pallets of cargo. The ability to land on
short or unsurfaced airstrips makes it
highly desirable for regional air lift in
conjunction with the C-27J Spartan.
Defence advise that depending
on configuration, the Hercules
can carry 128 passengers, or 74
paratroops, 97 stretcher patients
and two medical attendants; or
19,598kg of cargo.
The current KC-30A MRTT, which
is a heavily modified Airbus A330
airliner, enables Air Force to conduct
both air-to-air refuelling and provide
strategic air lift.
The KC-30A is capable of carrying
270 passengers, comes with under-
floor cargo compartments and is
able to accommodate 34,000 kgs of military and
civilian cargo pallets and containers.
Advanced mission systems are also fitted. They
include the Link 16 real-time data-link, military
communications and navigation suites, and an
electronic warfare self-protection system against
threats from surface-to-air missiles.
reconfiguration possibilities between 40 troops,
21 stretcher patients with two attendants, or 8,000
kg of cargo make a highly significant contribution
to the ADF’s airlift capabilities when the number
of potential landing sites within Australia and the
region are taken into account.
Army’s CH-47F Chinooks, with their range of
over 600 km and capability to transport slung or
on-board loads approaching eight tonnes, complete
the airlift picture.
There is no doubt that the acquisition and
introduction into service of the RAAF’s C-27J
Spartan makes an important and timely contribution
to the ADF’s airlift assets.
Although there was some initial concern at the
rapid decision by Defence to acquire this fleet
without going through the full and ponderous
series of processes that they normally follow, the
generally accepted view is that this is an excellent
and economic acquisition which will prove its
worth in both HADR and fighting forces deployment
Air Movements personnel from No 27 Squadron prepare to launch the C-27J Spartan from RAAF Base Townsville.
Credit: CoA / Glenn McCarthy
28 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter FEB 2017
30/01/2017 6:40 PM
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