First C-27J Spartan JCA Completes its Maiden Flight

Alenia North America proudly announced the successful maiden flight of their first C-27J Spartan at the Alenia facility in Turin, Italy, on Wednesday June 18. The company is a subsidiary of Alenia Aeronautica and the aircraft under development is being created for the U.S. Army’s Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program.

The test flight, which took place on Monday June 16, saw the C-27J take to the skies for a successful twenty-minute flight. Giuseppe Giordo, the president and chief executive officer of Alenia North America Incorporated said that the event was “an outstanding achievement for the Alenia Aeronautica team in Italy” and that it demonstrated “Alenia’s clear capability to achieve critical program milestones.” The flight was conducted under poor weather conditions but was successful nonetheless and the entire procedure included takeoff and landing operations as well as functional checks that will ensure the safety and longevity of the plane. However, this is only the beginning and there are still about 70 hours worth of flight tests and 180 hours of ground tests to be conducted on the aircraft before the concept can be shipped off to the United States for industrialization. In the meantime all the remaining testing will be conducted in Caselle.

Aircraft manufacturer Alenia has been working with L-3 since the team won the $2 billion contract with the U.S. Army and Air Force in June 2007. The contract stipulates the production and delivery of up to 78 aircraft, but international, variant and foreign military sales are expected to increase that number to well over 200. While L-3 has been leading the team, Alenia is currently receiving a lot of publicity after the successful test flight.

The C-27J is a multifunctional and interoperable aircraft that falls in the mid-range category. It is truly versatile, and can be used for troop movements, MEDEVAC, humanitarian assistance, logistical re-supplies, airdrop operations and homeland security missions. Though the C-27J Spartan has been in production since 2001, it is clear that a number of improvements will be necessary before the aircraft is up to the standard required by the U.S. Army and Air Force. The C-27J will be replacing the C-23 Sherpa, C-12 and C-26 that are currently used by the army and air force.