The Alenia C-27J Spartan is truly the high-performance SUV of the air. It is powerful, tough and can haul full-sized pallets used by the C-130 Hercules.If that wasn’t enough, it can even do rolls and loops. The Bulgarian Air Force has three C-27Js in its fleet, and for recent air shows they showed off their Spartans by executing this pretty damn awesome two-ship demo.
The USAF had these bad boys for a brief time a few years ago, with 21 being delivered despite a fleet of almost four times that size was planned at one time. Yet as the result of one of the most disgusting and wasteful procurement blunders ever, one that was rife with interservice rivalry between the Army and the USAF, these aircraft ended up being mothballed almost as soon as they were flying operationally.
Now, after sitting idle for years, the more or less brand-new, 21 strong American Spartan fleet will be split up between the Coast Guard and Joint Special Operations Command.
It is amazing how one air arm’s trash is another air arm’s treasure. In Bulgaria, the C-27J is one of the most advanced aircraft in the country’s air force and are used in many different roles effectively. To the USAF, they were pork surplus.
I would imagine that the Coast Guard will cherish these nearly mint second-hand transports, as that service is always underfunded and under-resourced considering their ever-growing mission. As for the special-operations guys, they will without a doubt maximize Spartan’s capabilities in the field and we may even see some unique modifications on their airframes in the not-so-distant future.
If nothing else, it will just be nice to see hundreds of millions of dollars in brand-new and highly useful aircraft getting a better mission than acting as rattlesnake umbrellas at the boneyard.
Contact the author Tyler@jalopnik.com
Photo credits: C-27J photo via USAF