The only dedicated European exercise for the C-27 Spartan military aircraft launches today for two weeks of intensive joint training. Now in its sixth edition, the ‘European Spartan Exercise’ will take place at Bezmer airbase, Bulgaria with four participating nations: Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania, Romania. The aim of the exercise is to increase interoperability among European countries operating the C-27J Spartan military aircraft.
This edition of the European Spartan Exercise will run from 3-14 October and marks the fifth time Bulgaria has hosted the exercise. Four C-27J’s will participate and around 150 personnel will be involved. The core planning team composed of personnel of participating nations and the EDA already began work on 28 September for final preparations of the exercise. All planning cells include a representative of participating nations, while medical personnel will plan dedicated missions for medical evacuation.
The C-27J Spartan transport aircraft is designed to perform tactical missions in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, providing direct air transport to the theatre, day and night. The Spartan Exercise is also focused on peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, training C-27J crews to fly low level, tactical navigation in different scenarios. Several airfields in Bulgaria have been chosen for training: at Cheshnegirovo airfield, crews will perform tactical approaches, personnel airdrops and short airfield take-off and landing. Dolna Mitropolia Air Base was chosen to simulate engine running operations, known as EROs for medical evacuations. Some simulated drop zones will challenge crews when planning the missions. Operators from the Bulgarian Joint Special Operation Command will also take part in the exercise.
European C-27J community
European Spartan is one of the concrete outcomes of the European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) partnership signed in 2011 by 20 EDA Member States. This annual flying exercise, which is part of the EDA’s dedicated C-27J project that gathers five participating Member States that are C-27J users (the four afore-mentioned countries plus Slovakia), works to identify and develop common projects in the domains of operations, training, logistics, procurement, airworthiness and Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) to achieve a high level of interoperability and cost-efficient operating and maintenance models.