The Slovak Air Force announced that its first C-27J Spartan airlifter, which was taken on charge (TOC) at Tactical Wing Kuchyňa in October 2017, is fully operational.
After years of absence, the Slovak Air Force has now regained the capability of delivering supplies and equipment to its troops on operations and missions, including to the contingent supporting the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
Slovak Minister of Defence Peter Gajdoš said: “I am very pleased that after the new Spartan transport aircraft has been test-flown and pilots have received required training, it is now fully operational and ready to perform tasks as part of domestic and international crisis management operations. The air transport capability is vital to every Air Force, that is why it is highly positive that we have managed to restore it.”
Gen. Milan Maxim, Chief of the General Staff of Slovakia, said: “The first use of the aircraft for transporting materiel to UNFICYP has saved us considerable financial resources, which can be used for the SVK Armed Forces to perform other tasks.”
The procurement of the two C-27J Spartan dates back to 2008, when a contract for delivery of the aircraft was awarded in an international competitive bidding (ICB) process. But it was not until 2014 that the contract was formally signed. The contract covers the initial 5-year logistics support package.
The purchase of the two C-27J Spartan airlifters was made in compliance with the Slovak Air Force Development Concept. The Slovak MOD negotiated a discount of 900,000 euros as a contractual penalty for the delay in the delivery of the aircraft. The Slovak military expects to take delivery of the second transport aircraft in the coming days.
Alenia C-27J Spartan
Alenia C-27J Spartan is a military transport aircraft developed and manufactured by Leonardo’s Aircraft Division.
It is an upgraded version of Alenia Aeronautica G.222 (C-27A Spartan in U.S. service), equipped with the engines and various other systems also used on the larger Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules.
In addition to the standard transport configuration, specialized variants of the C-27J have been developed for maritime patrol, search and rescue (SAR), C3 ISR (command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), fire support and electronic warfare (EW) and ground-attack missions.