The Coast Guard acquired, through an intra-service transfer, 14 Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartans that the U.S. Air Force planned to place in storage.
Alenia and Lockheed Martin had worked together to upgrade Alenia’s G.222 for bid entry into the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Joint Cargo Aircraft competition. The design was changed to use the C-130J Rolls-Royce AE 2100 engine and a six bladed propeller. Other design changes were the C-130J glass cockpit, the fully digital 1553 systems and avionics architecture, and the cargo compartment was updated to increase commonality. The aircraft was given a military designation of C-27J.
In March of 2012 the U.S. Coast Guard did an evaluation as to the feasibility of taking over the existing C-27J aircraft from the U.S. Air Force. In early 2013 the Air Force completely shut down the C-27J program and began the decommissioning and storage of the existing aircraft. The Coast Guard wanted all 21 of the C-27Js, The U.S Special Operations Command wanted seven and the U.S. Forest Service wanted seven for use as aerial tankers. In October of 2013 the DOD assigned seven C-27Js to the Special Operations Command. The Coast Guard, Forest Service, and the Air Force worked out an arrangement whereby 14 C-27Js would go to the Coast Guard. Seven Coast Guard C-130H aircraft scheduled for wing box replacement and depot maintenance would go to the Forest Service.
The Coast Guard is regenerating and modifying the HC-27 to enhance the aircraft’s capability to detect, classify and identify maritime targets. A sensor package similar to the HC-144 and C-130s is installed.