C-27J Spartan

Ten Alenia C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifters are planned arrive in Australia in 2015. The C-27J complements the capabilities of the current C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster aircraft and uses common C-130J Hercules infrastructure and aircraft systems such as engines, avionics and the cargo handling systems.

The acquisition of the C-27J Spartan will significantly improve the Australian Defence Force’s ability to move troops, equipment and supplies.  The C-27J has the capacity to carry significant load and still access small, soft, narrow runways that are too short for the C-130J Hercules or runways which are unable to sustain repeated use by larger aircraft. 

Within Australia, the C-27J can access over 1900 airfields compared to around 500 for the C-130 Hercules aircraft. In our region, the C-27J can access over 400 airfields compared to around 200 for the C-130 Hercules aircraft. 

The new aircraft will provide battlefield airlift but are also capable of conducting airlift in our region.  They can operate from rudimentary airstrips in Australia and overseas and can support humanitarian missions in remote locations.

The flexibility of the C-27J allows it to undertake a wide range of missions from delivering ammunition to front line troops to undertaking aero-medical evacuation of casualties.

A battlefield airlifter needs to be able to operate in a high threat environment. The C-27J with its missile warning systems, electronic self protection, secure communications and battlefield armour provides protection from threats ranging from small arms to highly lethal man portable air defence systems (MANPADS).

The C-27J was assessed by Defence as the aircraft which best met all the essential capability requirements and provides the best value for money.  It was assessed as being able to fly further, faster and higher while carrying more cargo and requiring a smaller runway than the other aircraft that were under consideration.

Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the C-27J is expected in late 2016.


Manufacturer Alenia/L3
Role Battlefield airlifter
Crew Pilot, co-pilot, loadmaster
Engine 2 Rolls-Royce AE 2100-D2
Airframe Length: 22.7 m, height: 9.6 m
Wingspan 28.7 m
Weight 30,500 kg
Range 9,805 km
Ceiling 30,000 feet
Max Speed 670 km/h
  • 40 troops
  • 21 stretcher patients
  • 8,100 kg of cargo
Weapons Electronic self-protection measures