Slovenia to buy another C-27J, new helicopters and IRIS-T air defence systems

In a bid to properly address emerging security challenges in the region, the Slovenian government has amended its current defence plan, giving a green light for the acquisition of a second Leonardo C-27J Spartan tactical transport, six new multi-purpose helicopters and German-made IRIS-T medium-range air defence systems.

The move, which was approved by the Slovenian government in July, will see the nation double its C-27J fleet before the first aircraft has been delivered. Slovenia ordered its first Spartan, along with associated support/logistical services, on November 17, 2021, in a deal with the Italian aerospace/defence giant, Leonardo, worth €87.8m ($96.4m). This aircraft – serial L2-01 (c/n 204), which currently wears the Italian experimental test registration CSX62330 – is still flying at Leonardo’s Flight Test Centre at Turin-Caselle Airport in northern Italy and has yet to be formally handed over to the Slovenian Air Force and Air Defence. The acquisition of a second airframe will increase Slovenia’s investment in its Spartan fleet to €159m ($174.5m).

The Slovenian Air Force's first C-27J Spartan (serial L2-01, which currently wears the Italian experimental test registration CSX62330) carries out a test flight from the Leonardo Flight Test Centre at Turin-Caselle Airport, Italy, on July 17.
The Slovenian Air Force's first C-27J Spartan (serial L2-01, which currently wears the Italian experimental test registration CSX62330) carries out a test flight from the Leonardo Flight Test Centre at Turin-Caselle Airport, Italy, on July 17. Marco Rossi

In addition, Slovenia has revealed plans to acquire six new light multi-role helicopters to replace its Bell 412EP/HP/SP fleet under the so-called Multipurpose Military Helicopter Project, which is expected to be worth approximately €195.2m ($217m). Once selected, delivered and operational, these helicopters will support Slovenian military operations by carrying out a wide array of missions, including personnel/cargo transport, combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) and special operations taskings. The Slovenian Ministry of Defence (MOD) has not yet disclosed which helicopter type it plans to purchase.

As per its revised procurement plan, Slovenia also plans to buy an unspecified number of IRIS-T medium-range ground-based air defence (GBAD) systems from Germany, with talks ongoing. While the Slovenian MOD has not disclosed the value of this acquisition, local newspaper Delo has reported that Ljubljana intends to spend approximately €200m ($223m) on the IRIS-T system, which has a range of up to 40km (25 miles).