New Spartan customers await first aircraft

Milan
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

Alenia Aermacchi is gearing up to deliver the first C-27J Spartans to a pair of new customers, Chad and Australia, as their respective aircraft face the final stages of assembly at the company's Caselle site in Turin.

The first example of the tactical transport for the African nation is largely complete, with its Rolls-Royce AE2100 engines installed. Avionics and mission systems are presently being added, with painting and a number of tests still to be performed ahead of delivery provisionally scheduled for mid-December.

The fuselage for the second aircraft will shortly arrive from Alenia's plant at Capodichino, Naples, says Francesco Dogliatti, product co-ordinator for the C-27J.

Training of Chad air force technicians and flight crew is already under way, adds Dogliatti.

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Alenia Aermacchi

Meanwhile, the initial Spartan destined for the Royal Australian Air Force is undergoing fuel tests at Caselle. It will move to an adjacent part of the site at the end of October for flight testing and other acceptance trials, ahead of its expected delivery in early 2014.

Two further examples from Canberra's May 2012 order for 10 aircraft are in the initial stages of final assembly at Caselle, and a fourth fuselage is in production at Capodichino.

Alenia has also begun work on another fuselage, with the serial number 190, at the Naples factory. Its internal documentation does not list a customer for the aircraft, simply identifying it as a "White Tail". The airframer would not be drawn on the identity of the eventual operator, but says an order announcement is expected soon.

Also being worked on at the Turin plant are the final three aircraft from the US Air Force's order for 21 of the type under its Joint Cargo Aircraft programme.

The USAF plans to take delivery of the C-27Js but will place them immediately into storage following its 2012 decision to remove the Spartan from its fleet. Talks are ongoing within the US administration to transfer the transports to other government agencies such as the Forest Service, Special Operations Command and Coast Guard.