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African customer orders C-27Js

A C-27J Spartan.An undisclosed African air force has ordered two C-27J Spartan transport aircraft from Italy’s Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi, to become the third African customer after Chad and Morocco.

The company made the announcement on 23 September, saying the contract also envisages a logistic support package.

The two aircraft will be delivered starting from 2017 and will be used for the transport of troops and materials and for homeland security and civil protection operating also on semi-prepared strips.

In October 2008 Morocco became Alenia’s first non-NATO Spartan customer when it ordered four aircraft for €130 million. The first arrived in Morocco in July 2010. Chad received two in 2013 and 2014.

The C-27J has also been ordered by the Air Forces of Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Morocco, U.S., Mexico, Australia, Chad, Peru and Slovak Republic, for a total of 82 aircraft to date. 67 C-27J have been delivered so far. The type has been used operationally by Lithuania, Italy and the United States in Afghanistan.

The Spartan was developed from the G.222/C-27A, using the engines and systems of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules to provide 30% lower operating costs than the G.222 and 35% greater range. It first flew on September 24, 1999.

The Spartan has a maximum cruise speed of 602 km/h. Its auxiliary power unit allows for remote operations, something that has proven useful in Afghanistan.

In the way of self protection and survivability, the C-27J has dual redundant control systems, an armoured cockpit floor and integrated defensive aids suite combining laser and radar warning receivers, missile approach warners and dispensers.

The Spartan offers the ability to carry up to 60 troops in high density configuration and a maximum of 46 paratroopers. In the medical role 36 stretchers and six attendants can be carried. Normal payload is 9 000 kg for the C-27J, although maximum payload is more than 10 tons.