Northrop Grumman awarded RAAF C-27J sustainment contract

A Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan transport aircraft from No 35 Squadron takes off from Walcha Airport during a training mission.Northrop Grumman Australia has been awarded a performance-based contract to maintain the RAAF’s fleet of Leonardo/L-3 C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifters.

The contract is for an initial five-year period, and will renew annually for up to 22 years under a “rolling wave” arrangement, should Northrop Grumman continue to meet performance targets.

Ten C-27Js are on order for the RAAF, with the type being introduced into service with 35 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond, west of Sydney.

The award announcement comes some six months after the contract was awarded, and builds on Northrop Grumman’s growing transport aircraft maintenance work in Australia, which also includes sustainment of the RAAF’s KC-30A MRTT at RAAF Amberley and Brisbane Airport, and the Canberra-based Boeing 737BBJ and Bombardier 604 SPA fleet.

“This program represents the strategic foundation for Northrop Grumman upon which we can build sovereign Australian capabilities to sustain and modernise the fifth-generation Air Force of the future,” Ian Irving, chief executive, Northrop Grumman Australia, said in a statement.

“It allows us to deliver on our commitment to establish and grow a uniquely Australian defence capability while leveraging our world-class defence technologies and global infrastructure.”

Northrop Grumman has teamed with Leonardo, the C-27J’s original manufacturer, in order to “reduce primary risks to data access, design engineering support and supply chain management.”

Work on the C-27J will initially take place at RAAF Base Richmond, before moving to Amberley in the medium-term when 35 Squadron relocates there.