The Azerbaijani Armed Forces received a shot in the arm on Wednesday, June 26, with the delivery of their first C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft.

The tactical airlift, manufactured by Italian aerospace giant Leonardo, was presented to President Ilham Aliyev during a ceremony at Heydar Aliyev International Airport.

A Powerful Addition: The C-27J Spartan’s Capabilities

The C-27J Spartan is a workhorse of a transport plane, its origins tracing back to the 1990s when Alenia Aeronautica (now Leonardo) aimed to improve upon the G.222 transport aircraft. Launched in 1997, the C-27J incorporated significant upgrades, including powerful Rolls-Royce turboprop engines and a fully digital avionics suite. This lineage from the G.222 is reflected in its military designation, which carries on the “C-27” prefix.

Despite technical challenges, the C-27J has emerged as a versatile and reliable workhorse for military transport, boasting a maximum payload capacity of over 11,300 kilograms (roughly 24,912 pounds).

This translates to the ability to ferry up to 60 troops or tend to the critical needs of medical missions by carrying 46 casualty stretchers.

Powering this versatility are two Rolls-Royce turboprop engines, granting the Spartan the exceptional ability to take off and land on uneven or unprepared airstrips.

With a maximum range of 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles) and a cruising speed reaching 670 kilometers per hour (416 miles per hour), the C-27J offers a potent blend of reach and speed.

President Ilham Aliyev
President Aliyev is checking out the cockpit of the newly arrived C-27J. (Image source: Office of the President of Azerbaijan)

Built for the Battlefield: Durability and Defense

But muscle isn’t everything; the Spartan is equipped with an electronic self-protection suite, providing a crucial layer of defense against potential threats.