The Afghan National Army Air Corps has received two C-27 military support planes from the US in a bid to help Afghan security forces develop a modern aerial fleet.

The C-27A Spartan is a twin-engine turboprop aircraft that has the short takeoff and landing capabilities needed in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan.

A senior US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal said four fully trained Afghan air crews will join coalition airmen to operate a fleet of six C-27s by spring 2010.

The Spartan is an all-weather day/night transport aircraft specifically designed for short-to-medium range tactical operations using semi-prepared airfields as short as 1,800ft.

The Spartan features a two-pilot cockpit with a night vision device and an electronic flight instrumentation system that incorporates five liquid crystal head-down colour displays.