The United States Army Special Operations Command Flight Company (UFC) unveiled its new C-27J aircraft during an open house held in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in March 2014. The UFC is the only US Army unit to have the C-27J, which they introduced to replace the old CASA-212 fleet.
Upon first approaching the new aircraft, Army officers were immediately impressed by its advanced technology.
According to Billy Johnson who was one of the first pilots to fly the C-27J, “it’s very different from the CASA. Very detailed. It’s a flying computer. More capabilities. We have to learn those and work them into what we do every day.”
Ben A. Pasquine, who has nearly 40 years of aviation experience, said he feels the toughest thing to learn about the new aircraft is the automation. He went on to say that the C-27J has more automation than any Army or commercial aircraft he has ever flown.
The US Department of Defense authorized the transfer of seven C-27Js to the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) in October 2013 to replace the C-41As (CASA C-212 Aviocars) which were operated by the USASOC Flight Company (UFC). They are all former USAF aircraft. The first C-27J was formally accepted on March 18, 2014 at Fort Bragg and the first group of four pilots and four loadmasters was qualified to operate the aircraft in April. In USASOC service, the Spartans primarily support the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg and its Military Free Fall School at the US Army Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona.
Compared to the previous aircraft, the C-27J allows the unit to load twice as many paratroopers, significantly saving on training costs. They also say the aircraft’s advanced systems also ensure safer operations.