Air Force transfers C-27Js to boneyard

C-27JThe Dayton Daily News is reporting that twelve C-27J aircraft have been taken out of service, some of them at Mansfield Air Force Base in Ohio, and flown to the aircraft boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. At least 21 were scheduled to be retired by October 1, 2013. There have been 15 C-27Js stationed at Air National Guard bases and another two at an L-3 Communications plant in Waco Texas. Four more are still being built by Alenia Aermacchi in Italy which will be sent directly to the boneyard.

The U.S. Forest Service has expressed an interest in acquiring seven of them and converting them into air tankers, smokejumper planes, or using them to haul passengers and cargo. They recently paid $54,000 to have a report prepared which details how the aircraft could be used if the agency is successful in obtaining them from the Air Force.

The report concluded the C-27J could carry 1,850 gallons of retardant if 3,200 pounds of unneeded equipment were removed, including flight deck armor (approximately 1,100 lbs), miscellaneous mission equipment such as litter stanchions, tie-down chains, ladders etc. (approximately 1,000 lbs), and the cargo loading system (approximately 1,200 lbs).

Smokejumpers could exit the C-27J through the two side doors or the aft ramp. Depending on how the aircraft was configured, it could transport between 24 and 46 jumpers. According to the report, the aircraft configuration can be changed and fitted with standard outer and center seating to accommodate 68 passengers with limited personal equipment plus 2 loadmasters.


Thanks go out to Dave and Glenn

17 thoughts on “Air Force transfers C-27Js to boneyard”

  1. The USAF has found the C27 to be a maintenance disaster. How many of the ones we gave away to other countries are still flying?

  2. Walt

    That is probably why the USFS still wants them.

    We all have addressed this for the last year, only John McCain and the other merry band of Congress and Senators have foisted this on to an already piecemeal contract system and LAT operation

    Those aircraft are better off at AMARG and out of the hands of the USFS until they can really prove this as an Airtanker.

    Thinking this better and cheaper than a Dornier, CASA, Sherpa is fairly shortsighted…..only thing the C27 has going for it …it’s age age ….surely not how free and cheeeeep it is……

    It sure will not be cheap by any stretch of the imagination…….

  3. The Forest Service has no experience at operating their own air tankers. If the C 27’s are acquired for cargo and jumpers that should be the limit of exposure of the C 27 to aerial fire fighting. If the Fed’s want to operate an air tanker, obtain a (one) C 5A, have a private contractor convert and operate. That way all the politicians and upper management can take pictures of their accomplishment.

  4. Darned expensive mudslinger if you ask me.There is a reason they are parking them. Transport, jumpers,ok but
    1800 gal or so? Two pilot S2…

  5. C-27J is a very good tactical plane it won an hard competition to be selected as USArmy Tactical Air Lifter USAF has stolen the program just to kill it but ask USNG how they perform during Afghan deployment. For sure can be transformed in good firefighters (much better than S-2, P-2, C-130 due to negative and +3G capabilities) of course the lobby of C-130 and firefighter trasforming companies don’t like it for the risk of losing money. Then stop talk don’t knowing about it if USFS is not able to manage it leave them to USCG much more suited to use that plane in a proper way!

    1. Peter, normally I would agree with you, but it seems like a lot of airplane to only carry 1,850 gallons. Since they talk about hauling Smokejumpers and passengers, it sound like they are thinking some kind of a MAFFS, which would require a 3rd aircrew. An S-2T has one, the pilot. Iv’e seen T-40 working and that may be the future of the LAT program, the Bae-146 works very well and is relatively cheap to operate.

  6. The future, heavy fuel loadings in the wildlands, population growth in or near Federal lands, warming cycle, big destructive fires, more loss of life and property.
    The focus of Federal fire managers should be set higher than a 1600 gallon tanker, C 27 (two SEATS worth) and a delivery system, MINI Me MAFF system that doesn’t work that well in its bigger brother.

  7. Peter,
    Nobody said the C-27 was a bad airplane. It actually performs quite well, but don’t even mention installing a Maffs; would be a total waste. As I understand, .Alenia’s reputation as far as maintaining a/c support is highly questionable and consequently it’s killing the plane’s future. But it could be a tactic from Lockheed to block the C-27’s career in fire fighting… It would be interesting to find out the bottom lines of the C-27 case.

  8. This looks to me like another case trying to polish a turd!!
    Jump platform/troop transport, sure.
    One would think that by this time in history, with as much money that has been dumped into antiquated aircraft and so many friends have flown into smoking holes, that this great country of ours would have designed and built an AIR TANKER by now.
    Oh yes, politicians are involved, aren’t they?

    1. If this the Jim Klump I use to work with we need to profile this guy. Smokejumper, inventor, FMO, work with Dave Nelson, Tahoe……….?

      1. This is the same Jim Klump.
        I started my fire fighting career in 1959 at the age of 16 and have seen the progression from Stearmans to what is out there today. I never was real good at politics, but what if some
        people in the decision-making process considered NO AIR TANKERS? Change strategies and tactics Go strictly to rotor wing delivery?…..Or build a darned air tanker.

  9. The USAF is getting rid of them because they are complete maintenance hogs – they determined that a C-130J is cheaper, per hour, to operate than a C-27.

    At $9,000/hour for operational costs, its payload of 2 SEATs worth of retardant would be a waste for the USFS. Maybe the Forest Service should have 1 or 2 as smokejumpers, but as tankers they are more trouble than they are worth.

    1. Reports on the operating costs of the C-27J vary. Here is one from

      The report at the time of the U.S. budget sequester, which cut funds for the military, said that the C-27J cost around $9,000 an hour to operate while the larger C-130, which doesn’t have the C-27J’s capability of landing on some airfields, cost about $10,400 per hour.
      The [Ohio] National Guard disputed other cost estimates, saying it costs $2,100 per hour for the C-27J and about $7,000 for the C-130.

      A report prepared for the USFS estimated the C-27J would cost about $7,400 an hour over a 20 to 30 year life span. At 400 hours a year the cost would be about $5,800 an hour over 20 to 30 years.

  10. Of the 21 C-27Js that are expected to become surplus, the Coast Guard and the US Special Operations Command have asked for 21 and 8, respectively. Those two agencies have higher priority in the surplus-claiming pecking order than the US Forest Service which asked for 7. So it appears to be a long shot that the USFS will obtain any of them. More info.

  11. For the folks such as John McCain,other Senators, and the USFS in luv with the Transfer Bill last summer……

    Those acft are Erik USAF property and as mentioned before by Bill…..

    The pecking order will be established. Truthfully. The USFS does not deserve the aircraft due to their poor and antiquitated contracting methods which do not reflect any true knowledge of high dollar aircraft operations.

    The C27 project will never be free and interagency cooperation as noted by GAO. will never be corrected at the NIAC level.

    Leave the C27 to the TRUE professionals…….YACHT and USCG and SOCOM.

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