The Slovak Armed Forces ordered two Leonardo’s C-27J in 2014, allowing the Air Force of the Country to become more interoperable with NATO, of which Slovakia is an active member since 2004.

Slovak Air Force C-27J Spartan
Slovak Air Force C-27J Spartan.

Thanks to the C-27J, Slovakia increased its contribution to NATO. The C-27J Spartan, due to its excellent ability in operational theaters, is the fundamental means to ensure full interoperability with other, bigger, military transport aircraft used in the framework of international coalitions.

Slovakia received its second C-27J Spartan on October 31, 2017. In that occasion the defence minister Peter Gajdoš said: "From the perspective of modernising our armed forces, this is another historical event. After the last [Antonov] An-26 aircraft was dismantled, our air force did not have a transport aircraft with such capacity." The Slovak C-27J is well proved by Slovakia not only to serve the Armed Forces but it is also used for national crisis management, helping all citizens of the Slovak Republic.

To date 85 C-27Js have been ordered by many Air Forces worldwide in which it is already fully operational, as it represents the best solution available today in the new-generation, medium battlefield airlifter's category and has become a reference point for European and NATO countries.

The Leonardo C-27J Spartan has been designed as a true military tactical/battlefield airlifter and to routinely operate from short austere airstrips even unprepared. Thanks to its exceptional structural robustness and systems redundancy, the Spartan offers unique qualities, not found in aircraft of the same class or derived from commercial turboprops: ruggedness, reliability, outstanding survivability and manoeuvrability. The aircraft has the capability to perform autonomous operations from remote areas thanks to the installation of an APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) making the aircraft totally independent from ground support. The APU operates the air conditioning, hydraulic, electrical systems and, when installed, in the medevac configuration, the medical equipment. The Spartan is qualified to perform short take-offs and landings (STOL) - with a run of less than 600 m at take-off and less than 400 m to landing at its near maximum weight - on snowy, sandy and unprepared airfields.

Employed with full satisfaction by some of the most important air forces, including the US Army, US Coast Guard and the Australian RAAF, the Spartan has already fully proven its ability to effectively accomplish any tactical transport mission, ranging from disaster relief to “last tactical mile” troops support. The U.S. Coast Guard deployed the aircraft during the Harvey hurricane operations. The Peruvian Spartans were fully involved in the missions to support the population affected by the El Nino.

Credit: U.S. Coast Guard

The relatively small Spartan is capable of accessing 1900 airfields in Australia, and 400 in the region - more than double the amount accessible by the larger Hercules allowing RAAF to support humanitarian missions as well as battlefield airlift in remote locations and unprepared airstrips common in Australia’s region.

Nowadays, a modern Air Force needs a highly cost-effective aircraft, capable of being quickly reconfigured to perform a high number of different missions, whilst retaining its primary role of tactical airlifter. Thanks to multiple Roll-On/Roll-Off easily installable and transportable mission kits and systems, the C-27J can be configured to carry out tactical transport including transportation of troops, cargo, paratroops and VIPs, cargo airdrop, Medevac/Casevac, VIP, Search And Rescue, ISR and Fire Support.

The new C-27J Spartan baseline configuration - characterized by a brand new avionics system, new cockpit control panels and LED aircraft lights - made its first flight last December 4 at Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Turin plant. Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director, said: “New operators will enjoy modern avionics and improved operational cost and performance within the aircraft flyaway price. The main benefits of the new C-27J baseline configuration are compliance with new civil aviation regulations and military requirements obsolescence risk reduction.”

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