Colombia is buying four C-295 air transports from Spain. These 23 ton
aircraft are basically half size C-130s, with a payload of nine tons and two
turboprop engines. Costing about $30 million each, the C-295 entered service in
seven years ago and 57 have been delivered so far. Such aircraft are more
suitable for a country the size of Colombia than the larger C-130. Even the U.S.
Army is looking to replace its 44 two
engine C-23s (a freight version of the British Shorts 330 passenger airliner).
The 12 ton C-23 can carry up to 3.5 tons of cargo, or up to 30 troops. In Iraq,
the army C-23s have proved invaluable in getting priority army cargos where
they are needed, often to places the C-130 could not reach. With a war going
on, the army has lots of recent evidence of how difficult it is for army
commanders to get a C-130 for some urgent mission.
aircraft competed for this contract, including the CN-235, C-295 and C-27J,
along with the current the navy C-2. What all these aircraft had in common was
greater capacity (about half the C-130s 20 ton load), and the ability to fly
higher than the C-23s 20,000 foot maximum altitude (which prevents it from
being used in Afghanistan). The C-27J won, but it was a close competition.