C-27J to JFK

We’ve written the frustrating saga of the USAF knife in the back of the (originally) Army program to buy the C-27J light transport.

After successfully commandeering the program, the USAF quickly turned around and killed it, even as brand spanking new airframes are still rolling off the production line in Italy.  These planes are being delivered directly to storage at Davis-Monthan AFB where they’ll join the rest of the fleet in long term storage.


Or will they?

Defense Industry Daily says that Special Operations Command (SOCOM) wants seven Spartans to replace their current fleet of CASA C.212 aircraft for training purposes.

SOCOM is a joint command, albeit very heavily biased toward the Army. In essence they’re their own separate armed force, with their own budget authority, and a history of noted disdain to parochial games, even while excelling at them.

Alenia C-27J Spartan aircraft picture

The Coast Guard has already stated they’d love to have  the entire production run of C-27Js to convert them to medium range maritime patrol aircraft.* But a quirk of US law says the Air Force can’t give them to the USCG ( part of DHS) unless there are no military takers for them. Obviously, SOCOM, as a DoD entity, would have first call on the Spartans. And so, it’s highly likely the John F. Kennedy Center and School will add 7 Spartans to its fleet.

Now, SOCOM says the C-27Js would be for training. And I’m sure they would be. But unlike the aircraft already in the SOCOM fleet, the Spartans are combat ready aircraft with radar and missile warning systems, and chaff and IR flare dispensers. It would not be terribly surprising if some “training” aircraft found themselves in “exigent” circumstances deployed to support “urgent” operational needs, in effect giving SOCOM its own tactical transport fleet, and reducing the reliance on USAF and TRANSCOM for airlift.

That’s pure speculation on our part. What say you?

*Even as the USCG is buying another foreign built twin engine turbo-prop for the role, the HC-144 Ocean Sentry based on the EADS CN-235.

5 thoughts on “C-27J to JFK”

  1. I am unable to come up with a single reason, other than tradition, for the USAF to continue as a Military Branch. Take what the AF has and spread it out to the Army, Marines and Navy. Made sense to break it out from total Army control 70 years ago, now it makes sense to do away with it.

  2. I remember reading somewhere a while back, that “someone” had developed a “gunship in a box” or pallet as it were that would fit into a C-27J…can’t see JSOCOM using that, nope…nothing to see here, move along.

    The USAF were and are not exactly team players and it’s part of the reason a lot of people have no use for them as a service. Most of the people I have met are very nice and want to do a good job…the a-holes who make these kind of decisions however can kiss my ass.

  3. While not in snyderman’s camp, I agree that the Air Force has played the a$$hole card quite well here.

    The whole rotary wing vs. fixed wing “controversy” is based on obsolete thinking and poor logic. If nothing else, if the AF can have rotary wing assets, why can’t the Army have fixed wing assets? Because of the freaking “Treaty of Miami!?” Really?

  4. Great definition of “SOC” being their own seperate service….and very true. I deeply believe they will own those “J’s” ultimately. A step way up from their (mostly) contracted CASA’s. It is insanity tha prevails that the USCG can’t be given the damn things so the CG quits looking at the CN-235. There’s good reason(s) the ADF (Australians) took a bye on the 235 and those Coasties are smarter than we believe wanting to merely take over the “J”. Probably end up in SF type duty which will mean seven. Better’n nothin’.

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