EADS Casa is to conduct a two-week US demonstration of its CN-235 and C-295 transports in support of a campaign to potentially supply the US Army with up to 128 Future Cargo Aircraft (FCA), writes Craig Hoyle in Seville.

Scheduled to run from 2 May, the demonstration will promote the capabilities of the transports at army bases and US exhibitions using Spanish air force aircraft flown by company test pilots. The tour will include operations alongside army Boeing CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters at Ft Campbell, Kentucky, says Bert Fortier, director, army programmes, for EADS Casa North America.

Eyeing an initial requirement for 33 aircraft to replace the army's aged Shorts C-23 Sherpa intra-theatre transports, EADS Casa North America – which has yet to announce a US partner for the project – is facing competition from the C-27J Spartan on offer by Alenia/L-3 Integrated Systems joint venture Global Military Aircraft Systems.

The teams will submit responses to an army request for information on the FCA by 9 May, with the service expected to issue a formal request for proposals by year-end. Contract award is anticipated by January 2007, with low-rate initial production to start the same year.

EADS Casa, meanwhile, will start final assembly of its first of three contracted CN-235s for the US Coast Guard's Deepwater programme at its San Pablo plant near Seville in mid-May. The company will deliver its first two aircraft and its portion of the palletised mission system to prime contractor Lockheed Martin in mid-2006 for operational analysis.

The USCG is currently reviewing its requirements for the fixed-wing element of the Deepwater system, but Jose De La Fuente, marketing and sales manager for EADS Casa North America, believes the coastguard will acquire between 22 and 36 CN-235s and modernise 20 Lockheed Martin C-130H maritime patrol aircraft.

Source: Flight International