Alenia confident of further Spartan sales

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Alenia North America is confident of obtaining at least two new customers for the C-27J Spartan tactical transport in 2010, and is discussing refurbishment programmes with current operators of the G222.

"We expect that Ghana and Taiwan will elect to procure the C-27J through the US Foreign Military Sales process, with respectively up to four and six aircraft in 2010," says Alenia North America chief executive Giuseppe Giordo.

 Alenia C-27J Spartan tactical transport is in demand
"More than 10 countries, focused in Africa, South America and the Far East, have already requested price and availability data through the FMS process," says Giordo, who is also co-chief operating officer responsible for Alenia Aeronautica's military airlift division.

Other sales efforts involving the type in the Mediterranean and Middle East regions are being led by Alenia Aeronautica. The company has also submitted proposals to modernise G222s for Argentina and Thailand, having already delivered its first two upgraded examples each to Afghanistan via the US Air Force, and to Nigeria.

Alenia has completed its first training course for US air and ground crews and maintenance personnel to support the Afghan army air corps' introduction of the G222, the first of which arrived in Kabul in mid-November.

"Two more aircraft will be handed over by year-end, with the remaining 14 scheduled to follow by 2011," Giordo says. Two VIP modules for the transports will be delivered by May 2010, while in-service support will be provided by L-3 Vertex.

"We are confident that there are near-term opportunities to expand this programme," he adds, citing "additional aircraft, defensive aids subsystems and NVG-compliant cockpit upgrades" as possibilities.

Meanwhile, Giordo is also confident that a current order for 38 C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft for the US military "is a starting point, as more are needed for homeland security/disaster response and irregular warfare".

The US Air National Guard is expected to deploy its first C-27Js to Iraq in the second half of 2010, with Giordo expecting them to provide "valuable data to define the right mix of [Lockheed Martin] C-130Js and C-27Js for the intra-theatre airlift mission".