In early October a C-27J Spartan from No 35 Squadron conducted its first air drop training sorties from RAAF Base Richmond, delivering four Container Delivery Systems (CDS) to the Londonderry Drop Zone in Sydney's North West.
A single CDS was delivered in each pass, allowing the aircraft's crew to build their experience in the correct methods of air drop with the Spartan. A CDS is a common unit of delivering cargo such as water, rations, ammunition or other supplies by air, and is compatible across the fleet of Air Force transports.
A fleet of 10 C-27J Spartans are being acquired for the RAAF to serve as Battlefield Airlifters, fulfilling the air lift role between Army's rotary-wing fleet, and larger Air Force transports. Initial assembly is taking place at the Alenia Aermacchi Capodichino factory with final assembly and test flights at the Turin Plant and Turin-Caselle Airport.
The aircraft are then being flown to L-3 Platform Integration Division (PID) in Waco Texas for systems integration and to bring them up to the Joint Cargo Aircraft configuration. Once delivered to the RAAF, these aircraft will be based at Richmond initially before being based at Amberley and operated by 35 Squadron. Deliveries are due to be completed in 2015 with Initial Operating Capability expected to be achieved in mid to late 2016.
The aircraft performing the sortie were the first two to have been delivered, A34-001 and -002.