By Craig Hoyle in London
Boeing has today been confirmed as the newest member of the Global Military Aircraft Systems (GMAS) team which is offering the C-27J Spartan transport to meet the combined US Army and Air Force Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) requirement.
The US manufacturer has now officially joined forces with founding GMAS partners Alenia Aeronautica and L-3 Communications. The expanded group is contesting the potentially 145-strong JCA requirement with an EADS Casa and Raytheon team promoting the European company’s CN-235 and C-295 transports.
Boeing will support the development of a unique version of the C-27J to meet national requirements should GMAS succeed in securing the JCA later this year, with the company also to be involved in producing the aircraft in the USA. Its decision to join forces with Alenia and L-3 brings to an end an earlier possibility that it could offer a rival JCA solution, potentially based on Antonov of Ukraine’s An-72 (Flight International, 24-30 January).
GMAS already had the support of Dowty, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce and more than 20 additional US subcontractors prior to Boeing’s addition, says Alenia. The Finmeccanica company has already secured orders and options for 32 C-27Js, including 12 for Greece and up to 12 and eight each for Italy and Bulgaria. The company is currently pursuing other potential light transport deals in Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Romania, Slovakia and with the NATO alliance, it says.
Final bids for the JCA requirement will be submitted on 17 May. The selected airframe will replace the army’s current Shorts C-23B Sherpas and is also to meet an emerging USAF requirement for an intra-theatre lift capability smaller than its current Lockheed C-130Js.