Slovenia to purchase a C-27J from Italy

A Government to Government (G2G) agreement was signed on November 17 between Slovenia and Italy which will see Slovenia procure a Leonardo Company C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft from Italy.

With a value of €72m, the agreement also includes the provision of flight training to Slovenian aircrew and maintenance services from Italy. Funded by the 2021 and 2022 Slovenian defence budgets, the aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to Slovenia in 2023. 

Ministers Lorenzo Guerini and Matej Tonin with the files of bilateral agreements. Italian MOD

Signed by Italy’s Minister of Defence, Lorenzo Guerini and the Slovenian Minister, Matej Tonin, this is the first ever G2G deal for Italy. Guerini said: "The G2G agreements are effective industrial policy tools, which allow the national industry to assert the quality of its products abroad.”

This agreement comes after a long evaluation from the Slovenian Government for a medium airlifter, this requirement was highlighted through the COVID-19 pandemic with the country struggling to rely on its light cargo aircraft, the Let L-410 UVP Turbolet.

An Italian Air Force C27J Spartan flies over the area of Tuscany close to its home base in Pisa. Josef Campion

This need is despite of the country receiving medium and heavy strategic airlift either from the C-17s of NATO Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) at Pápa Air Base in Hungary, or via the NATO Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) programme.

The C-27J was originally second place to the Airbus C295 in 2008, when Slovenia ordered two C-295s from Airbus. Shortly after the decision a C295 of the Polish Air Force fatally crashed and this led to the order being frozen by Slovenia, and a further financial crisis led to the deal being cancelled.