RAAF Base Richmond, Australia — The first Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan airlifter for the Royal Australian Air Force was handed over in a ceremony Tuesday at Richmond, west of Sydney.
The Spartans will provide a short-field tactical airlift capability to the RAAF that was lost when the elderly De Havilland Canada DHC-4A Caribou was retired at the end of 2009.
They will be operated by No. 35 squadron, which gained fame as "Wallaby Airlines" during the Vietnam war.
"The government's decision to acquire the Spartan will give the Royal Australian Air Force the best tactical air mobility capability that we could acquire," he said.
"The C-27J will also become the real workhorse in humanitarian disaster and relief operations."
The Spartans will be based at Richmond for an initial period before moving to Amberley, southwest of Brisbane, around the end of 2017.
"L-3 Communications has worked closely with the Royal Australian Air Force on projects starting with the [Lockheed Martin] AP-3C under Project Air 5276 and continuing today with the C-27J," said Bruce Trego, vice president and chief operating officer of L-3 Communications.
"We have worked closely with the Royal Australian Air Force, the US Air Force and our partner, Alenia Aermacchi, to deliver the aircraft to support the initial operational capability."
Trego said that in-country support for the C-27J in Australia will be provided by Airbus Group Australia Pacific.
Nigel Pittaway is the Australia correspondent for Defense News.