Boeing and Lockheed Martin declare interest in competing for US Army and Air Force intra-theatre transports

Boeing and Lockheed Martin plan to participate in the US Army/Air Force Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) competition to supply up to 145 intra-theatre transports. How the big US primes will get involved in what has become a major procurement will become clear as companies respond to the JCA request for proposals issued on 17 March.

Boeing is believed to be negotiating to join the Global Military Aircraft Systems (GMAS) company set up by Alenia Aeronautica and L-3 Communications to offer the C-27J. “Boeing is interested in competing for the JCA programme. We have entered into discussions with a number of different entities,” the company says.

“GMAS is open to shareholders,” says Guiseppe Giordo, president and chief executive of Alenia North America. The company has invited US states to bid for a C-27J final-assembly plant, and one option could be to build the aircraft at Boeing’s plant in Long Beach, California where C-17 production is winding down.

GMAS plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to a shortlist of states soon, and to have selected the site before JCA proposals are submitted on 17 May. The joint venture would invest more than $200 million in a “centre of excellence” for final assembly, logistics and training if it won the contest, says Giordo. EADS Casa, which is teamed with Raytheon to offer the CN-235 and C-295, also plans to assemble the aircraft in the USA.

Lockheed is “considering potential options” for JCA, but is expected to offer the C-130J. The company is a key subcontractor on the C-27J, although Giordo says responsibility for the propulsion system has been transferred to Alenia. Lockheed still supplies the avionics, but “can offer an aircraft not in the C-27J segment” for JCA, Giordo says.

“We are still the avionics and system software supplier,” says Lockheed. “We provide the propulsion system based on requests from the programme. We have not yet received an RFP concerning the supply of propulsion systems as it relates to JCA.” GMAS says Alenia has exercised its right to manage the C-27J propulsion system.

Bids will be evaluated and the programme managed jointly by the US Army and Air Force. Contract award is expected early next year. The initial requirement is for 33 army aircraft, with deliveries beginning 12 months after contract award. The RFP requires a demonstrated production capability of 11 aircraft a year, but says up to 28 may be ordered annually.


Source: Flight International