In a strategic move to bolster Slovenia’s military aviation capabilities, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia has taken a significant step by ordering a second Leonardo C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft for €45 million. This decision, made in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Italy, represents a crucial milestone in enhancing the operational readiness and disaster response capabilities of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF). The acquisition of this second C-27J Spartan aircraft is of paramount importance as it ensures the continued operational capability of the SAF. This includes tactical air transport for SAF personnel and cargo, support for natural disaster response, and assistance in firefighting efforts. The presence of two aircraft mitigates the risk of operational disruptions due to maintenance, guaranteeing a seamless flow of support to both military and civilian missions.
This new aircraft offers a range of advantages, including:
- The C-27J Spartan will contribute significantly to SAF’s self-sufficiency and independence in international operations and missions.
- It facilitates the rapid movement of personnel and cargo to and from SAF’s area of operations, ensuring endurance and efficient evacuation capabilities.
- The presence of at least one operational aircraft, with an 80% availability rate, guarantees consistent support for various missions.
- The aircraft will be available for participating in NATO and EU missions, aiding in civil protection during natural disasters and engaging in international air transport programs like ATARES.
Despite a two-year gap since the initial agreement, Slovenia managed to negotiate a cost reduction of nearly €3.5 million for the second aircraft. The firefighting and passenger transport modules purchased for the first aircraft can also be utilized interchangeably by both, optimizing resources. The amendment to the Implementing Agreement stipulates the purchase of the second C-27J Spartan with the same configuration as the first, along with a two-year warranty, at a value of €45,408,679.04 exclusive of VAT. The total cost of both aircraft, inclusive of modules, logistic support, insurance, certification, and management expenses, amounts to €128,911,575.43, excluding VAT. The first C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft is already in production, undergoing certification, and expected to arrive in Slovenia by December 2023. The second aircraft is slated for delivery in December 2024.
The C-27J Spartan, developed and manufactured by Leonardo’s Aircraft Division, represents an advanced derivative of Alenia Aeronautica’s earlier G.222 (C-27A Spartan in U.S. service). It incorporates engines and various systems used on the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules. The aircraft’s versatility is demonstrated through specialized variants designed for maritime patrol, search and rescue, C3 ISR, fire support/ground-attack, and electronic warfare missions. The C-27J Spartan has garnered international recognition, with orders from various military air units, including Australia, Bulgaria, Chad, Greece, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Zambia, and an undisclosed country. Its inclusion in the Slovenian Armed Forces further solidifies its reputation as a reliable and versatile tactical transport aircraft. Slovenia’s decision to acquire a second C-27J Spartan aircraft underscores its commitment to maintaining national security, enhancing disaster response capabilities, and contributing to international missions, solidifying its position as a responsible and capable global partner in military aviation.