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Air Force officials announce C-27J aircraft basing proposal

A C-27J Spartan taxis on the ramp at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., during flight testing in early 2009. Air Force officials plan to add 38 C-27Js to its inventory, which will be operated by the Air National Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A C-27J Spartan taxis on the ramp at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., during flight testing in early 2009. Air Force officials plan to add 38 C-27Js to its inventory, which will be operated by the Air National Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo)

WASHINGTON -- Air Force officials announced Oct. 13 that Great Falls International Airport, Mont., is the preferred alternative to be the seventh operational location for bedding down four C-27J Spartan aircraft.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz announced in July two candidate bases that included Boise Air Terminal Air Guard Station, Idaho, and Great Falls International Airport. Site survey teams evaluated the two candidate sites for feasibility, timing, cost and planning purposes to meet initial operational capability requirements.

The C-27J is a twin turboprop engine aircraft designed to meet the Air Force requirement for a rugged, medium size airland transport. The C-27J gives U.S. military troops a unique, short-take-off-and-landing capability, providing access to airstrips otherwise unreachable by fixed-wing aircraft.

The first six operational bases announced in July 2008 were Martin State AGS, Baltimore, Md.; W.K. Kellogg Airport, Battle Creek, Mich.; Bradley International Airport AGS, Bradley, Conn.; Hector Field AGS, Fargo, N.D.; Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport, Mansfield, Ohio; and Key Field AGS, Meridian, Miss.

The final basing decision for the seventh operational base is pending completion of environmental impact analysis, expected by May 2011. A final announcement is expected in June 2011 with aircraft delivery expected in mid-2014.