The top generals in the US armed forces don’t seem to be on the same line when it comes to the Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft. The type is more or less cursed amongst the Air Force brass, but special operations units and countries with rough small airstrips seem to be welcoming the type. That includes the USA’s own Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
The US Air Force placed firm orders for 21 C-27Js and planned to buy 38 aircraft the type. But the generals don’t want their pilots to fly them, arguing the European designed aircraft are to expensive to fly. The air force stars don’t even want their Afghan Air Force partners to have them, opting for the bulkier Lockheed C-130 instead.
Now the US SOCOM has been assigned to get seven of the Spartans, three from Pope AFB in North Carolina and the rest directly from the L-3 licensed production line in Waco, Texas, before April 2014.
The remaining 14 aircraft that were ordered by the USAF will now be stored at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) in the Arizona desert, normally reserved for old and retired aircraft. SOCOM and the Royal Australian Air Force, both used to operating in harsh conditions, seem very happy to receive the C-27J.
Source: US DoD with additional reporting by AIRheads’ Marcel Burger