The U.S Air Force is planning to add the C-27J Spartan, the latest propeller-driven air lifter planned for the Air Force inventory, are steadily progressing.
In April, through Resource Management Decision 802, Defense Secretary Robert Gates moved the C-27J program and its related direct support mission from the Army to the Air Force. Since April, the Air Force and Air Mobility Command (AMC) have taken a serious approach to building the program, officials said.
The Air Force will field 38 C-27Js, operated by the Air National Guard. Two are currently going through qualification and operational testing.
According to Air Force officials, the C-27J is an “extremely rugged” aircraft, designed for austere environments. And, although it has yet to complete its testing, they say it should thrive in the “dirt.”
“Think of the C-27J as a ‘mini-Herc’ — it looks like and acts like a C-130, but it is about half the size (3.5 pallet positions versus 6 to 8 pallets for the C-130),” Colonel Capone said. “This smaller size brings efficiency of scale to the Air Force’s portfolio of air lifters.”
AMC and Air Force officials plan to continuously review and update the C-27J using input from field commanders until it is incorporated into joint doctrine.