No Cracks Reported On Italian Air Force C-27J Spartan Fleet

C-27J

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C-27J
An Italian Air Power C-27J Spartan. (Picture credit score: Writer)

No indicators of structural fatigue on the Italian Air Power C-27J airlifters.

“The checks required by the service bulletin have already been carried out on the Italian C-27J Spartan fleet and no points have been discovered”. That is the official response we acquired by the Italian Air Power after we requested the service, one of many world’s largest and most skilled Spartan operators, and positively a kind of flying probably the most various kinds of missions (from the “regular” tactical airlift mission, to the Particular Forces help, to the Digital Warfare utilizing the EC-27J variant), whether or not their C-27Js have been affected by the identical points reported within the U.S. and Australia media.

In actual fact, a Forbes report printed on Dec. 6, 2023, said that each one 14 HC-27J Spartan plane flown by the U.S. Coast Guard have been grounded after cracks of various levels have been discovered of their plane following an Alert Service Bulletin issued by Leonardo that directed customers to examine for cracks within the higher rear of the plane. Comparable cracks were found also in Australia on an undisclosed variety of the ten C-27J Spartan operated by the Royal Australian Air Power.

RAAF C-27J
A Royal Australian Air Power C-27J Spartan plane throughout Train Talisman Sabre 2021. (Photograph: Jacqueline Forrester/Royal Australian Air Power)

The dissemination of comparable bulletins is a part of the same old procedures which are usually utilized by the producer of plane, engine and techniques to ensure the security of the flight operations and so they often don’t make the information, until they trigger a protracted grounding.

On this case, it’s not clear how lengthy the U.S. and Australian C-27Js might want to stay grounded, though the official assertion launched by Leonardo suggests the repair is prepared and will be carried out fairly quickly.

“In response to a problem reported by a C-27J Operator, as a safety measure, Leonardo has requested all C-27J Customers to carry out a one-time inspection,” the corporate stated. “With a purpose to mitigate any impacts on plane operations, Leonardo has already recognized a restore resolution in case a problem is definitely detected. The implementation of such restore will be carried out at buyer premises by the Operators and doesn’t require vital effort. The reported concern is due to this fact not anticipated to have an effect on deliberate plane operations.”

Information coming from Greece appears to substantiate the restore will be rapidly carried out. Notified concerning the bulletin on Tuesday, the Hellenic Air Power has already began the inspection of its Spartan fleet. In response to the Greek Kathimerini media outlet, one of many eight Greek C-27Js has already accomplished the technical inspection and restore proposed by the producer, with the work being carried out on the State Plane Manufacturing facility (KEA). “In actual fact, the aircraft was instantly put into operational use and flew on Tuesday to airlift a affected person”.

In response to the Forbes story, not one of the Operations Command C-27Js have been grounded and “don’t present indicators of cracking on the factors of emphasis.”

The standing of the remaining worldwide operators (13 out of a complete of 17) is unknown on the time of writing.

The C-27J demonstrates its maneuverability throughout an airshow. (Picture credit score: Alessandro Fucito)

The demand of superior, high-maneuverable, tactical airlift belongings may be very excessive and this sort of plane is continually operated from quick and austere runways, in probably the most difficult situations. Structural fatigue is among the many issues that must be monitored and in some instances, the heavy toll, of excessive optempo. As proved by the security stand-down of more than 120 U.S. C-130H and J plane after atypical cracks have been discovered within the wing joints of at the very least two planes in 2019, or last year’s grounding of more than 20% of the USAF C-130H fleet for cracks on the propeller blades.

“The sturdy C-27J has a use case. However whereas the Spartan is cheaper to function and might, in Pacific or Caribbean backwaters, match into extra locations than the Coast Guard’s far-larger C-130s, every fleet-wide grounding poses an ever-greater existential risk to the Spartan,” the Forbes article says. “If the this newest operational setback devolves right into a long-term operational pause, the incident could effectively show to be the ultimate straw within the Coast Guard’s long-troubled C-27J program, pushing the company to, at a minimal, discover different choices for maritime surveillance and tactical transport.”

The size of the grounding and its eventual impression on the repute of the C-27J within the U.S. Coast Guard will have to be reassessed within the close to future. What’s already sure is that the service has not too long ago began testing the missionized configuration of the HC-27J working with the Naval Air Methods Command’s Naval Air Warfare Middle Plane Division AIRWorks Crew and Leonardo to enhance its surveillance aircraft fleet with improved capabilities to collect, course of and transmit info throughout maritime patrol plane joint operations.

An fascinating video concerning the testing carried out by the the NAWCAD’s Air Take a look at and Analysis Squadron (VX) 20 HC-27J take a look at group was posted on Instagram.


David Cenciotti is a journalist primarily based in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and browse navy aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and lots of others, overlaying aviation, protection, warfare, trade, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with totally different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Power, a personal pilot and a graduate in Pc Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.



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