The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has completed the programmed depot maintenance (PDM) for its first C-27J Spartan medium range surveillance aircraft.
The milestone was celebrated by the senior leadership from the Coast Guard’s C-27J program team and Leonardo Aircraft Division during a ceremony in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Oct. 25.
CGNR 2702 is the Coast Guard’s first C-27J to complete the cycle, which consists of a full tear-down and rebuild of the entire aircraft including all propulsion systems, corrosion inspection and repainting. In fact, this is the first time a C-27J has been taken down to this level for inspection worldwide.
“This is the deepest dive any operator has taken into the C-27J; we took the wings off, which came as a surprise to some,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ian Hall, C-27J deputy program manager. “In completing a full nose-to-tail inspection of the aircraft, we are able to find corrosion hotspots that were not known to the Coast Guard or Leonardo engineers and are able to tailor our maintenance cycles to inspect them on a regular basis.” Operating in the maritime environment exposes Coast Guard aircraft to a considerably higher corrosion threat than the uses for which the aircraft was designed by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
The PDM is critical to Coast Guard assets as it allows for a much more thorough inspection of the airframe than what can be conducted at the unit. Additionally, PDM allows the Coast Guard to embody service bulletins recommended by the OEM without taking the plane off the flight schedule. A second plane is already going through PDM – planned to be completed within months – and a third has arrived in Elizabeth City to begin the cycle. Each aircraft will go directly from PDM completion to missionization. Once missionization is complete, CGNR 2702 will be the first C-27J Spartan completely overhauled and configured to Coast Guard specifications.