Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne today announced the achievement of Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the fleet of C-27J Spartan aircraft.
Minister Payne congratulated Air Force on the significant milestone achieved today that will increase Defence’s ability to move people, equipment and supplies in Australia and our region.
“The Spartan can access airfields that are unable to support larger transport aircraft, thus increasing the reach for Defence when supporting communities across Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific region,” Minister Payne said.
“The Spartan can now be tasked on missions to transport 40 passengers or three military pallets of cargo, as well as fulfil roles such as light equipment airdrop.”
The Chief of the Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies said he was proud of the milestone, as the C-27J Spartan was the missing piece in our air mobility matrix for tactical aircraft.
“The arrival of the Spartan will greatly increase the mobility and flexibility for local commanders, allowing intra-theatre airlift that will bridge C-130J Hercules and CH-47 Chinook options,” Air Marshal Davies said.
The acquisition of the Spartan represents a $1.6 billion investment in Australia’s airlift capability, following the retirement of the Vietnam-era Caribou transports in 2009.
To date, four of Australia’s ten Spartans have arrived in Australia, where they are operated by Number 35 Squadron from RAAF Base Richmond. Following construction of dedicated facilities at RAAF Base Amberley, Number 35 Squadron will relocate in 2019.