On Tuesday 18 July, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Alenia C-27J Spartan A34-007 was noted back at Rockhampton Airport as joint Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17) continues with Phase 2 wrapping up and Phase 3 about to commence. The RAAF's battlefield air lifter aircraft also called into Rocky on Sunday 16 July and the photos in this post are of this exciting fist visit.
A34-007 looked to fly in from RAAF Base Amberley and later depart to Canberra. It was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Wallaby 13".
As mentioned previously, the Alenia C-27J Spartan is a military transport aircraft developed and manufactured by Alenia Aermacchi. Ten of the battlefield airlifters were ordered by the RAAF in May 2012 to replace the now-retired De Havilland DHC-4 Caribou fleet.
The RAAF C-27J Spartan aircraft complements the capabilities of the current C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster aircraft and uses common C-130J Hercules infrastructure and aircraft systems such as engines, avionics and the cargo handling systems. They will be equipped with missile warning systems, electronic self-protection and battlefield armour allowing them to operate freely in high-threat environments.
Once delivered to the RAAF, these aircraft will be based at RAAF Base Richmond initially before being based at RAAF Base Amberley and operated by 35 Squadron. Deliveries were due to be completed in 2015 and Initial Operating Capability was achieved in December 2016 while Final Operating Capability is expected to be attained late 2017.
Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Kayanne H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!
All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman ©