Boeing is “strongly interested” in a planned US Army order for small transports, but may wait to bid to join the programme until after one of the two rivals is eliminated.

David Bowman, Boeing vice- president for airlift and tanker programmes, says the 33-aircraft future cargo aircraft (FCA) order may be a good fit for the company’s expertise as a systems integrator. Boeing is developing the common cockpit for the US Lockheed Martin C-130 fleet under an effort called the Avionics Modernization Programme (AMP).

It is possible, he adds, that Boeing could offer the same cockpit to the airlifter team selected by the army to produce the FCA. The two contenders are the C-27J offered by Global Military Airlift Systems, an Alenia/L-3 Communications joint venture, and the Raytheon/EADS North America team offering the EADS Casa CN-235 or C-295.

The same AMP package and other upgrades could then be offered to the US Air Force, which is expected to expand the FCA programme’s scope to homeland security and special operations.

Boeing has the option to submit its own airframe as a candidate, but there are few aircraft that can meet the army’s requirement for a light turboprop with a rear cargo ramp and US certification. Bowman says there may only be three types available – the C-27J, the CN-235/C-295 and the Xian Aircraft Y-7.

Source: Flight International