The C-27J Spartan's Canadian introduction was made possible with the help of the Peruvian and Italian embassies.
With exactly a month left before the government’s deadline for bids to supply the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) with new fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) platforms, Alenia Aermacchi brought its C-27J Spartan to Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport for a brief show-and-tell on Dec. 11.
This particular aircraft was a multi-mission variant built for the Peruvian Air Force, one of more than a dozen military and paramilitary services around the world which fly or have ordered the twin-engine turboprop. Being flown by Alenia Aermacchi pilots to Lima, Peru, from the factory in Italy—via Canada and the Bahamas—its Canadian introduction was made possible with the help of the Peruvian and Italian embassies.
The C-27J Spartan departs Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport.
A division of Italy’s Finmeccanica conglomerate, Alenia Aermacchi is the lead partner in Team Spartan. If the group wins the FWSAR contract to supply up to 18 replacement platforms to the RCAF, green aircraft would be flown to IMP Aerospace in Halifax over a six-year period. Including 20 years of in-service support (ISS), the contract is estimated to be worth $3 billion.
Team Spartan and its suppliers also includes Airdyne (spotter windows, seats and flare launcher); DRS Technologies Canada (courseware and training aids); Esterline CMC (flight management system and electronic flight bag); FLYHT Aerospace Solutions (Iridium satellite communications); General Dynamics Mission Systems – Canada (ISS integrator); IMP Aerospace (aircraft “Canadianization”); KF Aerospace (maintenance, supply chain and repair engineering ISS, and pilot and maintenance training management support); L3 Wescam (electro-optical/infrared turret); Rockwell Collins (radios); and Selex-ES (search radar).
It was standing room only during a tour of the aircraft.
On the question of industrial offsets, Team Spartan said in a statement that it has committed to delivering “100 per cent of contract value . . . benefits in the form of hundreds of long-term jobs and far-reaching investments in Canadian firms and technology.”
Steve Lucas, former chief of the air staff at the Department of National Defence (2005 to 2007), and now Canadian spokesman for Team Spartan, told a media briefing at the airport that, “Thanks to its exceptional speed, size, endurance and maneuverability,” the C-27J “can reach austere and remote locations . . . from Canada’s existing main operating bases.”
Team Spartan’s FWSAR configuration would be an upgraded version of that acquired by the U.S. Coast Guard. The cockpit would feature the latest avionics and extra power for the Rolls-Royce AE-2100-S2A turbines would increase its maximum takeoff weight.
Alenia Aermacchi pilot Marco Venanzetti peers back from his perch in the cockpit.
The aforementioned “Canadianization” by IMP involves the installation of an array of government-mandated hardware, including the chin-mounted L3 Wescam turret, belly-mounted radar and extraordinarily large bubble spotter windows, which would take up almost the entire rear doors on each side of the aft fuselage. Coupled with a modular “palletized” interior, all modifications mean increased weight and drag.
Asked whether that was why winglets have been added to the design, Lucas told Skies that it was “certainly one of the reasons.” Noting that many newer commercial and military aircraft feature them, he added that the C-27J winglets “will either completely or partially offset those particular drag components . . . in a number of flight environments.”
Tuesday, December 22, 2015