Slovenia enhances air transport capabilities with second Leonardo C-27J Spartan

On September 19, 2023, Slovenia's Ministry of Defense announced the signing of an agreement for the acquisition of a second C-27J Spartan tactical military transport aircraft from Leonardo. The agreement was formalized by Slovenian Defense Minister Marjan Šarec and Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto and was publicized on the official website of Slovenia's Ministry of Defense.

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Slovenia enhances air transport capabilities with Leonardo second C 27J Spartan purchase 925  The C-27J Spartan is developed and manufactured by Leonardo's aeronautical division  (Picture source: Leonardo)

The C-27J Spartan is developed and manufactured by Leonardo's aeronautical division, formerly known as Alenia Aermacchi until 2016. The aircraft is an advanced version of Alenia Aeronautica's G.222, also known as the C-27A Spartan in US service. It is equipped with engines and various systems used on the larger Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules. The aircraft can reach a maximum speed of 362 knots and has a range of more than 1,000 nautical miles.

In addition to its standard transport configuration, the C-27J has specialized variants for maritime patrol, search and rescue, C3 ISR (command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance), fire support/ ground attack, and electronic warfare missions.

The Slovenian government managed to reduce the cost of the second plane by around 3.5 million euros. The production cost of the first C-27J is estimated at 45.4 million euros, which increased to 48.8 million euros with certification, integration of additional equipment and spare parts. The total contract value for the two aircraft is estimated at 128.9 million euros.

The Slovenian Air Force is currently waiting for the first C-27J, which is undergoing certification in Italy. The first aircraft is expected to be delivered in December 2023, followed by the second in December 2024.

The acquisition will enhance Slovenia's capabilities within NATO's rapid reaction forces. The C-27J has also been ordered by the military air units of several other countries, including Australia, Bulgaria, Chad, Greece, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Slovakia, and Zambia.