The first Alenia C-27J Spartan Joint Cargo Aircraft tactical transport aircraft for the US Army is to be delivered on 25 September by JCA prime contractor L-3 Communications Integrated Systems from its Waco, Texas facility. A second aircraft will be delivered in November.

L-3 leads the Global Military Aircraft Systems (GMAS) joint venture between itself and Alenia North America. GMAS is responsible for C-27J JCA avionics development, modification and upgrades, as well as training, logistics and spare parts. In addition to specified system provisions and a new external antenna arrangement, the JCA version of the C-27J features Rolls-Royce AE 2100D2 turboprop engines with a 10% increase in engine power.

Meanwhile, Alenia North America chief executive Giuseppe Giordo says that Boeing and Alenia North America are looking to seal a long-delayed production joint venture deal by year end: "We need to finalise legal details, but the principal business agreements have already been reached."

US Army C-27J

He adds that the USA is to offer the C-27J JCA through its Foreign Military Sales programme: "The US DoD has also already received 25 letters of request from foreign countries and we expected to sign the first contract in 2010."

Alenia North America has reached an agreement with the city of Jacksonville and state of Florida to build a final assembly and delivery centre for the C-27J JCA at the former Cecil NAS. Says Giordo: "Activities on the site will start by the end of the year, to begin assembly activities in 2010. This aircraft will be the 14th to be delivered to the US Department of Defense, while the new facility will be capable of sustaining a C-27J production rate of 30 a year. The first 13 aircraft will be constructed in Italy and transferred to the USA for final delivery."

Alenia is forecasting worldwide C-27J sales in excess of 200 units, including 78 JCA versions for the US Army and Air Force and possibly 16 in gunship configuration for the Air Force Special Operations Command. "Alenia North America expects, in the very near future, to receive additional contracts from the US DoD, that will expand our activities beyond the JCA," says Giordo.

L-3 Communications Integrated Systems has so far received orders for six aircraft with another seven to be funded in the fiscal year 2009 US defence bill.

Source: Flight International