As Alenia Aeronautica today delivers the first refurbished G222 to Afghanistan, company officials foresee a wider, global market for modernised versions of the light cargo aircraft.
Four countries, including two possible new G222 customers, have submitted requests for information about the refurbishment programme launched last year, a senior Alenia official says. Last September, the US Air Force awarded Alenia North America a $287 million deal to refurbish 18 G222s delivered to the Italian Air Force between 1977 and 1996 for new service with the Afghan National Army Air Corps.
Libya and Peru are interested to add the aircraft to their military cargo fleets, while existing G222 customers Argentina and Thailand could also join the programme. Meanwhile, the USAF has requested pricing data to add two more G222s to Afghanistan's future fleet, and further sales to the national are also possibile, another senior Alenia official says.
© Alenia Aeronautica
The potential new orders could extend the programme's life well beyond the scheduled delivery in late 2011 of the final G222 from the current order.
The programme calls for Alenia to guarantee a minimum of 10,000 flight hours after the refurbishment, which also includes standardising four or five different avionics configurations into a single suite that includes a new colour map display, GPS-based navigation and upgraded autopilot.
Alenia cycles aircraft through the refurbishment process every six weeks, company officials say.