The fuselage of Australia's first Alenia Aermacchi C-27J tactical transport has arrived at the company's Turin factory for final assembly.
The fuselage was delivered by truck and sea after being produced at Alenia's Capodichino Naples site, says Alenia.
In May 2012, Australia placed an order for ten C-27Js through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will receive its first example in early 2015.
The C-27J succeeds the de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou aircraft under the AIR 8000 Phase 2 requirement. Although popular with the RAAF, the obsolescent Caribou was retired in 2009. The C-27J's rival for the requirement was the Airbus Military C-295.
One concern with the Caribou had been its inability to operate in all but the most permissible airspace. Aside from being considerably faster and more manoeuvrable than the Caribou, the C-27J will also be equipped with missile warning systems, electronic self protection and battlefield armour. This will help it defeat threats from small arms fires and man portable air defence systems.
In addition, the C-27J offers significant commonality with the C-130J. Alenia representatives have said the "J" designation of the C-27J is aimed at highlighting the similarities between the two types. Both are powered by the Rolls-Royce AE2100 turboprop, and have similar avionics and cargo handling systems.