Leonardo secures Azerbaijan as latest C-27J Spartan customer

Azerbaijan has become the latest nation to join the global family of C-27J Spartan operators, after Leonardo revealed on June 8 that a contract for the delivery of an unspecified number of examples of the tactical transport had been inked in Italy.

Described as a strengthening of the “commercial collaboration between Italy and Azerbaijan”, the contract was signed in Italy by an Azerbaijani government delegation in the presence of representatives of the defence ministers from the two nations. This deal comes as Italy and Azerbaijan continue to extend their level of collaboration, which initially started in the energy sector but has now been extended to cover defence industry products. While the deal has now been inked, details regarding the number of aircraft ordered, the delivery schedule and the total cost of the acquisition have not yet been released by Leonardo.

Azerbaijan will become the 17th nation to operate the C-27J Spartan tactical transport. Notably, the AzAF will acquire the C-27J (Next Generation), which features new wingtips that are designed to enhance the aircraft's operational efficiency and overall performance.
Azerbaijan will become the 17th nation to operate the C-27J Spartan tactical transport. Notably, the AzAF will acquire the C-27J (Next Generation), which features new wingtips that are designed to enhance the aircraft's operational efficiency and overall performance. Leonardo

Commenting on the sale in a press release on June 8, Leonardo said: “The programme for the purchase of the C-27J from Leonardo, a tactical transport aircraft with many years of proven experience in the most challenging operational scenarios, was finalised through a technical roundtable between the Italian Ministry of Defence and its Azeri counterpart. The agreement is part of the extensive modernisation programme of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, which are increasingly looking to the products of Italian industry.”

With this acquisition of an unspecified number of C-27J (Next Generation) tactical transports, Azerbaijan will become the 17th nation to acquire the Spartan. The move will also enable the Azerbaijan Air Force (AzAF) to increase its fixed-wing airlift capabilities. According to AirForces Intelligence, the AzAF currently employs a single Ilyushin Il-76TD Candid in this role, along with an ageing fleet of ten Antonov An-2 Colts, although these are thought to be predominately serving in a search-and-rescue role.