Slovenia receives first Leonardo C-27J Spartan Next Generation transport aircraft

On December 20, 2023, Leonardo delivered the first of two C-27J Next Generation aircraft to the Slovenian Ministry of Defence as part of the Italy-Slovenia Government-to-Government (G2G) Agreement signed on November 17, 2021. The C-27J Spartan aircraft is equipped with advanced avionics, including five multifunction color screens, a tactical radar system, communication systems, a satellite system, ballistic protection, and winglets to enhance aerodynamic performance.

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Leonardo C 27J Spartan Slovenia 925 001 On December 18, 2023, the C-27J Spartan global fleet achieved 250,000 flight hours in operations. (Picture source: Leonardo)

Under the G2G agreement, Leonardo and the Slovenian Air Armaments and Airworthiness Directorate of the Secretariat General of Defence/National Armaments Directorate have entered into two contracts over the past two years. Each contract includes one aircraft, along with logistics and training services. The C-27J will support various operational requirements for transport and projection capabilities in international missions, as well as national community efforts such as rescue missions, disaster relief, and fire-fighting duties. Slovenia plans to configure the C-27J for fire-fighting missions, equipping it with the latest-generation MAFFS II (Modular Airborne Fire-Fighting System) from United Aeronautical Corporation.

The C-27J Next Generation's system architecture provides a cost-effective solution for various tactical operational requirements, enhancing interoperability with other transport aircraft. This modular aircraft design allows for integration with in-flight refueling, self-protection systems, secure communications, and ballistic protection, enabling it to operate effectively in high-threat environments while transporting materials, light vehicles, and personnel. The platform's versatility allows for rapid reconfiguration to meet emerging market demands, utilizing kits and roll-on/roll-off mission systems as needed for defense and civil protection missions.

In addition to the delivery to Slovenia, Leonardo celebrated another milestone on December 18, 2023, as the C-27J Spartan global fleet achieved 250,000 flight hours in operations. This multipurpose military transport aircraft has been chosen by operators in 17 countries across different continents for various defense and civil protection missions, even in challenging environments and conditions.

The C-27J Spartan has demonstrated its adaptability and effectiveness in addressing evolving market requirements, leading to the development of the C-27J Spartan Next Generation, featuring more advanced avionics and winglets for improved efficiency and operational performance.

The aircraft's growth potential makes it an ideal choice for various mission configurations, including fire-fighting, maritime patrol, command-control-communications, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and special operations. Its ability to operate from rudimentary airstrips, perform short take-offs and landings (STOL), and withstand tactical maneuvers, withstanding up to 3 g, further enhances its appeal to military operators.

With mission kits that are easily installed and transportable, the C-27J can quickly adapt to different roles, including troop transport, cargo transport, medevac missions, VIP transport, and fire-fighting. It offers a maximum takeoff weight of 32,500 kg, a maximum payload of 11,300 kg, and a service ceiling of 30,000 feet. The C-27J Spartan Next Generation is powered by two Rolls-Royce AE 2100-D2A engines, generating 3,458 kW each, allowing a top cruising speed of 602 km/h and a range of up to 3,160 nautical miles or 5,852 km.