Air Transportation: Peru Embraces The C-27J


December 12, 2013: Peru is buying two C-27J transports ($68 million each) for the Peruvian Air Force. The C-27J (a joint U.S./Italian upgrade of the Italian G-222) is a 28 ton two engine aircraft that can carry nine tons for up to 2,500 kilometers and land on smaller and less sturdy airfields than the four engine C-130 or C-17.

The C-27 is a popular aircraft, even the older models. The Afghan Air Corps bought 20 C-27As. These Italian made aircraft are easy to fly and very popular with their Afghan pilots. For example, the C-27A can fly as slow as 160 kilometers an hour, with the cargo door open to drop cargo by parachute. The Afghans ended up getting rid of their C-27s because the rampant corruption in their armed forces made it impossible to adequately maintain the aircraft.

The Afghan C-27As were obtained for Afghanistan by the U.S., from the Italian Air Force, for $16 million each. The U.S. Air Force bought 10 C-27As in the 1990s, but took them out of service because it was cheaper to fly stuff in the larger C-130. That changed when the air force found itself operating in Afghanistan. That led to a U.S. Army and Air Force deal to buy and jointly operate 78 C-27Js, but that fell apart from lack of cash and air force enthusiasm. The U.S. Air Force was persuaded to give 6 of the C-27Js (and possibly more later) that it did get to U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command).

Despite the problems with corruption and military politics, the C-27J has been popular with its users and the people it serves. It is a reliable aircraft that can operate under primitive conditions and smallish air fields. It also works well at high altitudes, which was a key consideration in mountainous Peru.  



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