Final Chadian C-27J preparing for delivery


Chad’s air force will soon take delivery of its second and final C-27J Spartan from Alenia Aermacchi, which is currently test flying this last aircraft in Italy.

The aircraft was seen landing after a test flight at Turin-Caselle Airport on Thursday, according to Air Forces Daily. The first aircraft began test flying from the same airport on December 12 last year, which is the site of the Alenia Aermacchi Flight Test Centre and C-27J final assembly line. It is believed that this first aircraft was delivered to Chad in December.

The Chad Air Force has a small transport fleet, comprising of a couple of Antonov An-26s (which entered service in 1994) and a single Lockheed Martin C-130 (which entered service in 1989). It is possible that the An-26s will be replaced by the C-27Js.

Chad began discussing the possible purchase of Spartans some years ago, with a leaked 2009 US diplomatic cable discussing the possibility of Chad buying C-130Js or C-27Js. “Purchasing C-27Js would be more economical for the GOC [Government of Chad] than buying C-130Js and might be no more expensive than buying refitted C-130Hs,” the cable read. “The C-27Js can land at many more airports in Chad than the bigger C-130s, either Js or Hs, thus complementing USG [US Government] efforts to make the Chadian military capable of combating terrorism in Chad’s vast, remote, under-populated, and under-governed northern Saharan and Sahelian regions.”

Morocco is the only other C-27J operator in Africa, having bought four Spartans in October 2008. The C-27J has been selected by more than ten countries, and has flown missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The aircraft has a payload capacity of 11.5 tons and can carry 60 troops or 36 litters with six attendants.

The Spartan’s closest competitor, the Airbus Military CN235/C295, has also been pushing for African sales, and has gained orders in Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt and Ghana.

Chad’s air force has also acquired MiG-29 fighter jets from the Ukraine, which were first seen in May this year. In April 2009, President Idriss Deby said that: “No African country except Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa has the weapons that Chad has today. In addition to what I have today, I am trying to acquire others. As I speak, my little brother Umar Deby, accompanied by the chief-of-staff of the air force, is in Ukraine, negotiating the acquisition of three MiG-29s, pilots, mechanics, and ammunition.”

Chad has acquired aircraft from the Ukraine before, including two second hand Mi-24V Hind combat helicopters in 2008 and six second hand Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft, including two Su-25UB trainers. These were delivered between 2008 and 2010, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).