Alenia Aeronautica chief executive Giovanni Bertoleone has revealed that his company is still in talks with Boeing over joint production of the C-27J Spartan airlifter - little over a month after the company told Flight International that the talks had ended without resolution.
Bertoleone says that a joint venture with Boeing is "one option" being considered, adding: "We need to decide quickly Boeing is considering a solution to participate." He notes that his statement confirms remarks made earlier at the air show by Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney.
On 9 June, Boeing's president of precision engagement and mobility systems Chris Chadwick told reporters that the company was "trying to close the business case" with Alenia regarding a final-assembly facility in Jacksonville, Florida, but Alenia promptly denied this, saying: "After negotiating with no real success, we jointly made the decision that Alenia could not afford to delay our investment any more in Jacksonville."
At that point it appeared that Boeing had exited the Joint Cargo Aircraft team, leaving the two remaining members - Alenia Aeronautica and L-3 Communications - to take full responsibility for deliveries of C-27 airlifters to the US Army and US Air Force, the first of which is scheduled for October.
The revelation that Boeing-Alenia talks are ongoing represents the latest twist in a saga of claim and counterclaim. At the Paris air show last year, Boeing disputed an L-3 executive's suggestion that Boeing's role in final assembly would not begin until after the 20th aircraft was delivered.
Alenia and Boeing were at the time 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.
Intended as a rugged military airlift platform, the C-27J has a maximum payload of around 11,000kg (24,230lb). It is configurable for troop, medical evacuation, airdrop, or cargo missions.