The US Air Force has released what it calls a "sources sought synopsis survey" to find a contractor to build Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan twin-engined tactical transports.
"The Air Force Life-Cycle Management Center [AFLCMC] at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is conducting market research to identify potential sources that possess the expertise, capabilities, and experience to manufacture and deliver C-27J aircraft," the document reads. "Responses to this survey will be used to influence the programme's acquisition strategy."
The document makes it clear that the USAF is only conducting the market survey at the behest of the US Congress. "The Mobility Directorate [AFLCMC/WL] is contemplating procurement of C-27J aircraft, in accordance with Congressional language that states 'The secretary of the Air Force shall obligate and expend funds previously appropriated for the procurement of C-27J Spartan aircraft for the purposes for which such funds were originally appropriated'," the document reads.
The USAF terminated its C-27J programme in an effort to save money in its fiscal year 2013 budget. The service also says that it will dispose of the 38 aircraft that are currently in service with the Air National Guard. Air Force leaders testified earlier in the year that the fate of those C-27Js will be decided before the end of this year.
Responses to the market survey are due at the end of May.