The confusion now focuses on Boeing's always-mercurial role in the L-3 Communications/Alenia Aeronautica partnership that's supplying the C-27J to the US Army.
Here's what a Boeing spokesman told Roxana Tiron at The Hill newspaper last Thursday:
"There is a lot of potential in the Joint Cargo Aircraft program, but the business case for Boeing was such that the parties jointly decided to move on without Boeing," said Boeing spokesman John Williamson.On Monday, I followed up with Alenia, and got very much the same response:
"After negotiating with no real success, we jointly made the decision that Alenia could not afford to delay our investment anymore inLater in the afternoon, however, Boeing started to back-pedal. A spokesman told my colleague Andrew Doyle yesterday that the parties were still trying to close a business case. Andrew also talked to Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing's precision engagement and mobility systems business. Here's what Chris told him:
," Alenia said. Jacksonville
"We're trying to close the business case."I've heard of spin, but this is ridiculous.
Continue reading to see the full article we posted on FlightGlobal.com last night.
A team that included L-3 Communications, Alenia Aeronautica and Boeing was selected to deliver the Alenia C-27J for the US Army and US Air Force.
is the prime contractor and Alenia is the platform supplier. Boeing had
agreed to open and operate a second final assembly in
Negotiations between Boeing and Alenia over the former's role have now ended without resolution.
negotiating with no real success, we jointly made the decision that
Alenia could not afford to delay our investment anymore in
However, Boeing has made conflicting comments. Last week, a Boeing spokesman told The Hill newspaper in
But Chris Chadwick, Boeing's president of precision engagement and mobility systems, told reporters on Monday that negotiations remain ongoing.
Chadwick says "we're trying to close the business case" with Alenia regarding JCA.
Both Alenia and L-3 officials emphasized that Boeing's departure will not affect the delivery schedule. The JCA contract calls for the first C-27J delivery to the army before October.
"We're perfectly confident this is not going to have anything to do with schedule or delivery," L-3 says. L-3 also described Boeing's participation as an "exploration of a business relationship" that involved Alenia and Boeing only; L-3 was not involved in the negotiations.
Boeing's participation in the JCA programme dates back to 2006 during a heated competition between the C-27J and the C-295, with the latter offered by Raytheon/EADS North America. Boeing joined the L-3/Alenia partnership shortly before the USAF agreed to join the army's programme.
the time, L-3 declared that its new partner "brings the ability to
establish a streamlined, process-based production facility in the
The terms of the agreement remained in flux even after contract award, which occurred shortly before the Paris Air Show last year.
During the air show, Boeing disputed statements made by L-3 executives, who had told reporters that Boeing's role in final assembly would not begin until after the 20th aircraft was delivered.
In fact, Alenia and Boeing were negotiating to open the second final assembly line in 2010, when the team is scheduled to deliver the 10th through the 14th aircraft to the army.
Alenia now plans to take over Boeing's disputed role in the programme, opening and operating the second final assembly line for the C-27J by itself.
"We've been building this airplane for almost a decade," Alenia said. "We know how to build the airplane."
shift would fit into Alenia parent Finmeccanica's strategic plans to
expand manufacturing and sales in the North American market.
Finmeccanica is seeking to close a deal to buy