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Spartan Triumphs Down Under: Australia's defense ministry announced a $1.4 billion deal on May 10 to purchase 10 C-27J Spartan airlifters through a foreign military sales agreement with the United States. "Acquisition of the C-27J will significantly improve the Australian Defense Force's ability to move troops, equipment, and supplies," states the ministry's release. "The C-27J has the capacity to carry significant load and still access small, soft, narrow runways that are too short for the C-130J" while complimenting Australia's existing C-130 and C-17 fleets, it continues. The Spartan "best met all the essential capability requirements and provides the best value for money," beating out Airbus Military's competing C-295 transport, states the release. Australia is seeking a separate support deal with manufacturer Alenia. The C-27J will replace the DHC-4 Caribou airlifter fleet retired in 2009. The Australians are scheduled to receive their Spartan fleet in 2015; the aircraft will bed down at RAAF Richmond near Sydney, according to the release.