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OCTOBER 2013 ISSUE


With the C-27J, the IAF could have an aircraft capable to do, literally, the entire mission possible in supporting logistic needs all around the country
Alenia Aermacchi test pilot, Gianni Ammoniaci
 
C-27JWhere would the C-27J Spartan fit in an IAF fleet that already operates the C-130J and An-32 with the much larger C-17 soon arriving? Also, MTA is in the pipeline.
The C-27J is the ideal platform to start the process of updating the Indian Air Force (IAF) transport fleet offering commonality and interoperability. The Avro replacement programme could be the first stage. With the C-27J, the IAF could have an aircraft capable to do, literally, the entire mission possible in supporting logistic needs all around the country. This would range from the high mountains to desert areas, with better performance in terms of speed, altitude, cargo capability and safety compared to other competitors. In a second stage, looking at the future replacement process for the An-32, more C-27J could be adopted for the typical role of a battlefield airlifter and multi role transport aircraft. In this field, the commonality and interoperability of the C-27J Spartan with the C-130J and the C-17 could be a big benefit for the IAF. The Spartan is not in the same category of the MTA, so there is no clash between the two types. The Spartan however, can operate from many more airfields and thus, directly is able to support the troops in the operations. It could offer an opportunity for the IAF to have a very flexible fleet with an aircraft able to fly the typical missions of real tactical airlifters. The indirect advantage of this two-stage plan is that the project to locally produce a transport aircraft in India linked with the Avro Replacement Program could be more realistic as more aircraft of the same type could be made, making the plan financially and industrially sound.

In your opinion what are the features on the C-27J that enable it to dominate its competition and its performance in hot and high conditions?
The C-27J is a real battlefield airlifter, designed to be a military transport, not just a tactical transport aircraft or, simply a transport aircraft, and there is a notable difference between those three definitions. A battlefield airlifter is an aircraft that is capable of performing all three roles plus the fundamental one to support the troops at the front with a real capability to deliver/extract troops, cargo and vehicles in battle conditions if needed. The C-27J robust design with minimal maintenance cancellations and proper crew ratios have contributed to an overall 98 per cent mission availability rate during US National Guard deployment in Afghanistan from August 2011 to January 2012. Every aircraft suffers a performance reduction when flying in hot and high environment reducing the load capability, but some aircraft suffer more than others do. The C-27J performed in a very good way during the hot weather certification and performed with good results during operations in India – Leh airfield at about 10,000 ft.
 
 
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