The Afghan Air Corps is
receiving 18 used C-27A transports, which are being obtained by the U.S. from
the Italian Air Force, for $16 million each. The C-27A is two engine, medium range transport, designed to fly into
small airfields at high altitudes. This
28 ton aircraft can carry six tons (or 34 passengers) for up to 2,500
kilometers and land on smaller airfields than the C-130 can handle. The U.S.
Air Force bought ten C-27As in the
1990s, but took them out of service because it was cheaper to fly stuff in the
larger C-130. At least until the air force had to operate in Afghanistan.
U.S. Army and Air Force have since bought an updated (with improved
electronics) version, the C-27J (a joint U.S./Italian upgrade of the Italian
G-222) for their own use. Two of the Afghan C-27As will be outfitted as VIP
transports, for the Afghan president and other senior officials.