Royal Australian Air Force deployed C-27J Spartan aircraft and personnel from RAAF Base Amberley to participate in Exercise Ready Spartan Prove (RSP) in Townsville Queensland from 10 – 18 September 2020. No. 35 Squadron and No. 383 Squadron operated at austere airfields in a simulated uncertain security environment to practice operational integration. This included flying from RAAF Base Townsville and establishing deployed air base infrastructure at the Benning and Macrossan Airfields, approximately 100km inland. The exercise tested both Squadrons’ abilities to integrate with the battle rhythm, information structure and planning products typical of a combined air operation.
In December 2011, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) issued a Foreign Military Sales request for 10 C-27Js valued at US$950m to replace its retired DHC-4 Caribou fleet. Australia had opted for the C-27J over the rival EADS CASA C-295 following an RAAF evaluation, which had noted the C-27J’s wider and taller cabin being compatible with the Australian Army’s general purpose G-Wagon vehicle, and palletized goods. In December 2013, the first Australian C-27J performed its maiden flight. In December 2014, the RAAF began maintenance training on the type; delivery of the first two of the ten C-27Js on order was also formally accepted that month.
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.