Italian multinational defence Leonardo delivered the first two C-27J military transport aircraft at a ceremony in Nairobi on January 30. Kenya Air Force has received its first pair of Leonardo C-27J Spartan tactical transports from a KSh20 billion ($200 million) order for three examples for the country’s air force. The newly acquired C-27J Spartan aircraft will undergo acceptance trials by a special military unit before being registered KAF 222. Kenya Air Force squadron unit is made up of engineers, pilots and other skilled teams that do testing on newly acquired aircraft before they are accepted and registered locally.
The first Kenyan C-27J Spartan was spotted at Leonardo’s facility in Turin, Italy, in September 2018 and a second joined it six month later. Kenya ordered a three aircraft in late 2017. The acquisition is being financed through a loan taken from Italy’s Unicredit SpA worth 198 million for the three aircraft. Kenya is the fourth African nation to order the C-27J after Morocco, Chad and Zambia. Other customers include the Air Forces of Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, United States, Mexico, Australia, Peru and Slovakia. Kenya’s C-27J Spartan will be equipped with winglets and a new avionics suite meeting civil and military requirements.
The Alenia C-27J Spartan is a military transport aircraft developed and manufactured by Leonardo’s Aircraft Division (formerly Alenia Aermacchi until 2016). It is an advanced derivative of Alenia Aeronautica’s earlier G.222 (C-27A Spartan in U.S. service), equipped with the engines and various other systems also used on the larger Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules. In addition to the standard transport configuration, specialized variants of the C-27J have been developed for maritime patrol, search and rescue, C3 ISR (command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), fire support and electronic warfare and ground-attack missions.
In 1997, Alenia and Lockheed Martin formed Lockheed Martin Alenia Tactical Transport Systems (LMATTS) to develop the C-27J. The design changed to use the C-130J Super Hercules’s Rolls-Royce AE 2100 engine and six-blade propeller. Other changes include a fully digital MIL-STD-1553 systems and avionics architecture, and an updated cargo compartment for increased commonality. The C-27J has a 35% increase in range and a 15% faster cruise speed than the G.222. It first flew on 24 September 1999. The Spartan aircraft can carry up to 60 troops and upto of 46 paratroopers. In the medical role 36 stretchers and six attendants can be carried. Maximum payload is estimated at 10 tons.