Initial design studies for what would become the C-27 Spartan began in 1962 for a NATO requirement for a VTOL transport aircraft. This design never went beyond the paper stage; however the Italian Air Force thought the design had promise as a replacement for their C-119 cargo planes, and in 1968 ordered prototypes that eliminated the vertical takeoff capability. The resulting aircraft, a medium sized cargo aircraft with two turboprop engines, first flew in 1970 as the G.222. The aircraft entered service with the Italian Air Force in 1978. In 1990 the U. S. Air Force adopted the aircraft as a short-range cargo aircraft for supporting the U. S. Army’s Special Forces troops and designated the plane as the C-27A Spartan. A total of 10 aircraft were purchased and were based at Howard Air Force Base in Panama. Changes in priorities resulted in the Air Force retiring the aircraft in 1999. Several of them were taken over by the U.S. Department of State and used to support foreign nations in their anti-drug operations. The aircraft were retired again in 2013 and placed in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.
U. S. Department of State Air Wing, Patrick AFB, Florida, 2013
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