Afghanistan is to receive a further two refurbished G222 light transports, following the US Air Force's award of a $30 million contract to Alenia North America.

The move will increase to 20 the number of ex-Italian air force aircraft to be prepared for its growing air force by the end of next year.

Joe Reheiser, Alenia North America's vice-president of airlift programmes, says the new award is "another positive indication of Alenia's performance on this programme".

In September 2008, the USAF gave it $287 million to refurbish 18 G222s using a dedicated facility at Alenia's Capodichino site near Naples, Italy.

Seven of these have been redelivered to the USAF as redesignated C-27As, with six deployed in Afghanistan (one pictured below at Kandahar airfield) and one used to train air advisors in Capodichino. Afghanistan plans to operate 18 of its aircraft as transports and two for VIP airlift.

 Afghan C-27A - US Air Force
© Senior Airman Nancy Hooks/US Air Force

Alenia hopes to keep its G222 refurbishment programme continuing with additional foreign sales. Libya and Peru asked for pricing information last year, and current operators Argentina and Thailand have also been cited as potential sales candidates.

Source: Flight International