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The global Alenia (now Leonardo) C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft fleet has passed the milestone of clocking up 250,000 flight hours, Leonardo announced on 18 December 2023.

Currently flown by military operators in 16 countries worldwide, the C-27J first flew on 24 September 1999 and entered service, initially with the Italian Air Force, in October 2006.

The C-27J’s capabilities have grown over the years to meet a number of evolving requirements. The aircraft can be provided with multiple easily installed roll-on/roll-off mission kits, an in-flight refuelling fit, as well as self-protection, secure communications and ballistic protection systems for operations in high-threat environments.

In November 2020 Leonardo launched the C-27J New Generation, which features state-of-the-art avionics and winglets for greater efficiency and enhanced operational performance.

A pair of Bulgarian Air Force C-27Js. Sixteen countries operate the Spartan, with Azerbaijan set to become the 17th. (Photo: Leonardo)

“The Spartan embodies the very essence of the national security concept, proving to be the ideal solution for defence force operations and making a vital contribution to population support and civil protection tasks,” Dario Marfè, senior vice president of Commercial, CSS&T & Proprietary Programmes Business at Leonardo’s Aircraft Division, was quoted as saying in a company press release. “In a world impacted by many emergencies, like the Covid-19 pandemic, the Spartan has sustained support to communities in need.”

The C-27J is currently in service with the US Special Operations Command and the US Coast Guard, as well as the air forces of Australia, Bulgaria, Chad, Greece, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkmenistan and Zambia.

In June 2023 Azerbaijan became the 17th nation to order the C-27J.