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30 juin 2015 2 30 /06 /juin /2015 11:35
Arrival of C-27J Spartan  at RAAF Base Richmond - photo Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

Arrival of C-27J Spartan at RAAF Base Richmond - photo Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

 

30 June 2015 Australia DoD


Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AO, welcomed the first RAAF C-27J Spartan battlefield airlift aircraft in Australia at a ceremony at RAAF Base Richmond today, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the base’s establishment.
 
The acquisition of the C-27J Spartan will fill a gap in Australia’s military capability for tactical fixed wing airlift, which has been left open since the retirement of the Caribou fleet in 2009.
 
AIRMSHL Brown said the acquisition of 10 C-27J aircraft, which has been planned since 2012, signifies a $1.4 billion investment in Australia’s airlift capability.
 
“This acquisition represents a commitment to Australia’s air power capability which is a critical element of Australia’s national security and defence strategy,” he said.
 
“The C-27J will strengthen the Australia Defence Force’s air lift capability by increasing our ability to move troops, equipment and supplies.
 
“The aircraft will complement the capabilities of the C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster and will be able to carry medium-sized loads and access smaller runways that are not suited to other aircraft.
 
“This will allow Air Force to support humanitarian missions as well as battlefield airlift in remote locations and unprepared airstrips common in Australia’s region.
 
“Under Plan Jericho, the plan to transform Air Force into a fifth generation fighting force for the information age, the C-27J will operate within an integrated system that is more agile, has an extended reach and gathers and distributes information quicker and more efficiently than ever before.”
 
The C-27J aircraft provides protection from a range of threats through features such as missile warning systems, electronic self protection, secure communications and battlefield armour.
 
Initial Operational Capability for the C-27J fleet is planned for late 2016, with Final Operational Capability expected within the following two years.
 
The fleet of C-27J Spartan aircraft will initially be based at RAAF Base Richmond in New South Wales, until their permanent home at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland is completed.

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18 janvier 2015 7 18 /01 /janvier /2015 08:25
photo Diario El Peruano

photo Diario El Peruano


18.01.2015 Defesa Global
 

The Peruvian Ministry of Defence has ordered additional two C-27J Spartan medium transport aircraft according a contract, valued at around EUR100 million signed on 31 December 2014 with Finmeccanica’s Alenia Aermacchi.

The contract, which brings the number of aircraft ordered by Peru to four, also includes integrated logistic support and technical assistance. The first two aircraft, ordered in December 2013, will be delivered to the Peruvian Air Force (FAP) in the first few months of 2015, while the second order will be delivered in 2016 and 2017. The aircraft will be operated by the service’s 8th Air Group based at Callao AFB.

Other than Peru, the aircraft has been earlier ordered by the air forces of Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Morocco, Slovakia and by United States, Mexico, Australia and Chad. 80 of the aircraft have been ordered so far.

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16 décembre 2014 2 16 /12 /décembre /2014 18:50
EDA holds first C-27J pooled maintenance and training meeting

 

Brussels - 10 December, 2014 European Defence Agency

 

The European Defence Agency recently held a meeting with European C-27J Spartan operators in order to identify potential solutions to support this user community.

 

Representatives from the community of European C-27J users attended this meeting which was held last month at the European Defence Agency (EDA) premises in Brussels. Bulgaria, Italy, Romania as well as Greece and Lithuania currently operate the C-27J Spartan twin-engine tactical transport aircraft. “EDA is an ideal forum to harmonise requirements of the European C-27J community”, Pete Round, EDA Capability, Armament and Technology Director, stresses. “Together with Member States, we can identify ways to enhance the global C-27J capability through a variety of pooling & sharing initiatives”, he adds. "It also fits perfectly in the EATF partnership signed in 2011 by 20 Member States."

 

Cooperation opportunities

Over the course of the meeting, EDA put forward three main domains in which cooperation could yield significant benefits for the European C-27J user community: training, logistics and operations. Various ideas were put on the table, such as the pooling of C-27J simulators, the sharing of spare parts or the optimisation of the different mission kits currently used by Member States for their aircraft (fire-fighting, command and control, medical evacuation, etc.)

Participants agreed to meet again early in 2015 to discuss the way forward and assess the potential for joining existing EDA Pooling & Sharing mechanisms, such as the “Sharing of Spare Parts” project. Meanwhile, EDA stands ready to facilitate the establishment of relevant ad hoc projects in accordance with the “à la carte“ mindset of the Agency.

 

Synergies

European C-27J users have already been involved in other EDA initiatives, such as the EATT (European Air Transport Training) series of exercises. Earlier this year, Lithuania and Bulgaria deployed C-27Js as part of EATT14, which was held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

This EDA initiative aims to complement existing cooperative efforts such as the European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) partnership, the Spartan User Group, which also gathers non-European C-27J users, and the European Air Transport Command (EATC) which was recently joined by Italy who offered to “pool” some of its C-27Js through this operational command. 

 

 

More information

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
Australia waits on C-27J transfer approval

 

 

8 April 2014 by Andrew McLaughlin – FG

 

Sydney - Australia's programme to introduce the Alenia Aermacchi C-27J medium transport remains on track, despite a two month delay in its lead aircraft leaving Italy to undergo modifications in the USA.

 

First flown in December 2013, "green" aircraft A34-001 had been scheduled to arrive at L-3 Communications' Waco, Texas facility on 11 February, ahead of work to bring it to the Joint Cargo Aircraft configuration. Scheduled to take three months to complete, the work involves the fitting of an electronic warfare and infrared countermeasures suite, US-standard communications equipment and ballistic matting around the cockpit and loadmaster’s station.

 

The Australian Department of Defence says delays in obtaining flight clearances from EASA and the US Federal Aviation Administration have delayed the event, citing “a change in process associated with delivery of the first Foreign Military Sales customer aircraft”. However, Australian officials say they are confident the programme “remains comfortably within the scheduled need dates”.

 

Ten C-27Js will be operated by the Royal Australian Air Force’s 35 Sqn from Richmond air base near Sydney, New South Wales. Its second example is now being flight-tested from Turin, with another six aircraft in various stages of production and to be completed at roughly three-month intervals.

 

Selected in 2011, Australia's C-27Js will replace its retired de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribous. The first four aircraft are due to be flown to Richmond in early 2015, with initial operating capability scheduled for mid- to late-2016. Full operating capability should be declared by the end of 2017, following the delivery of all aircraft, a full flight simulator and a fuselage trainer.

 

Ahead of the type's introduction, the Australian DoD says it has signed an agreement with the Pentagon “to establish a training delivery contract with L-3 to enable commencement of training in the fourth quarter of 2014”.

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25 novembre 2013 1 25 /11 /novembre /2013 18:25
Le Pérou commande deux C-27J

 

25.11.2013 Helen Chachaty journal-aviation.com

 

C-27J, Spartan ,Alenia Aermacchi, Pérou,

 

Le ministère péruvien de la Défense a commandé deux avions de transport tactique C-27J Spartan à Alenia Aermacchi.

 

Le contrat d’une valeur d’environ 100 millions d’euros devrait être signé prochainement, selon l’industriel italien.

 

La filiale de Finmeccanica indique que le processus de sélection a duré quasiment trois ans.

 

Les exigences demandées faisaient état de capacités de transport de troupes, de personnels civils, de matériel, de MEDEVAC, d’opérations de largage, de missions de SAR ou encore d’assistance humanitaire, le tout dans des conditions de climat et de terrain comparables à celles de la Cordillère des Andes.

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25 novembre 2013 1 25 /11 /novembre /2013 12:50
Italian Air Force To Launch Gunship C-27J

 

November 17, 2013 By Anthony Osborne aviationweek.com

 

The Italian air force (AMI) is expected to sign a deal to convert several of its C-27J Spartan tactical transports into gunships at the Dubai Air Show on Monday.

 

Aviation Week ShowNews understands that six of the air arm’s 12 C-27Js will be converted into the MC-27J gunship variant, currently under development by manufacturer AleniaAermacchi, ATK and Selex ES. The aircraft are expected to be assigned to support Italian Special Forces units.

 

The deal makes the AMI the launch customer for the program, which has also garnered interest from other C-27 operators. It also makes Italy the first European country to operate a gunship of this kind.

 

Three of the aircraft will undergo the full conversion program while the other three will be configured to take the system when required. The deal is expected to include development, evaluation, certification and logistic support for the aircraft. A single prototype, separate from the MC-27J demonstrator, will be used to test the systems.

 

The MC-27J makes use of palletized systems. The mission control system and the gun are self-powered and fit snugly into the cargo hold with no need to plug them into the aircraft power systems. On the ground, the pallets can simply be plugged into mains power to re-charge the batteries. The companies have set a time limit of four hours to role and de-role the aircraft from its gunship configuration back into the C-27J’s standard transport role but engineers have been able to do it in a quarter of that time.

 

 

The company is also expected to announce the results of a second phase of testing which integrates ATK’s ScatheView mission system with an electro-optical sensor and the electronically traversable ATK-produced 30mm GAU-23 cannon, which is fired from the port-side paratroop door. The company has already completed Phase 1 of the program, which saw a series of firing trials being flown in partnership with the USAF over the Gulf of Mexico in April.

 

 

A third phase of integration will add the capability to carry and launch precision-guided weapons. The munitions could include the Raytheon AGM-175 Griffin or the Northrop Grumman GBU-44 Viper Strike. These are likely to be soft-fired either by opening the ramp and ejecting the weapons out the back of the aircraft or potentially dropped through a series of launch tubes cut out of the cargo loading ramp. The gun pallet currently carries around 500 rounds of ammunition with gunners generally firing a burst of eight rounds when engaging targets.

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19 novembre 2013 2 19 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
Alenia Aermacchi making gunship variant of C-27J for Italy

 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 18 (UPI)

 

The Italian Air Force has contracted Alenia Aermacchi for development and production of a gunship version of the C-27J airlifter for use by special forces.

 

The project, announced at an international airshow in the United Arab Emirates, has two phases. During Phase One, Alenia Aermacchi will develop and deliver a MC-7J Praetorian prototype to the Italian Air Force next spring for testing in operational scenarios. Phase Two will involve industrialization of the Praetorian configuration and related logistic support.

 

The C-27J is a twin-engine turboprop transport with a cruise speed of 362 miles per hour, a ceiling of 30,000 feet and a range of more than 1,000 miles with a payload of 22,000 pounds.

 

Alenia Aermacchi said its partners on the project are ATK of the United States and Selex ES.

 

The Italian Air Force plans to transform three C-27J's currently in service into the Praetorian configuration in 2016. Three others will follow. All six will feature command-and-control equipment, palletized cargo systems and fire support systems.

 

Details of weaponry to be carried by the aircraft were not disclosed.

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12 novembre 2013 2 12 /11 /novembre /2013 18:20
U.S. Special Forces To Get C-27Js

 

November 10, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

My Defense News/Navy Times colleague Aaron Mehta has details on the Pentagon’s decision to assign seven C-27J Spartans to U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The decision was made a couple of weeks ago. Three of the aircraft will be transferred to SOCOM by the end of November. Four more are in production and are scheduled for delivery directly to SOCOM between December and April 2014, Aaron writes.

 

The fate of the remaining C-27J aircraft has not been decided.

 

His article notes:

“The Air Force is maintaining those C-27s under “Type 1000” storage, which requires the planes be kept in near-active condition. The goal is that when a decision on their destination is made, they can be quickly spun up and delivered.

Altogether, the Air Force has paid for 21 C-27s. With the seven SOCOM planes assigned, 13 aircraft in inventory are destined for the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), known as the “Boneyard,” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. One more aircraft will end up there after undergoing work at an L-3 facility in Waco, Texas.”

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14 octobre 2013 1 14 /10 /octobre /2013 17:45
C-27J Spartans from Alenia Aermacchi

C-27J Spartans from Alenia Aermacchi

 

 

14 October 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

Chad’s Air Force will soon receive two new C-27J Spartan medium transport aircraft from Alenia Aermacchi, with the aircraft undergoing final assembly at the company’s site in Italy.

 

The first C-27J for the Force Aerienne Tchadienne (Chad Air Force) is mostly complete, having had its engines installed ahead of a provisional mid-December delivery, and is undergoing avionics and mission systems installation. The fuselage of the second aircraft will shortly arrive at Alenia’s Caselle site in Turin, where the C-27J final assembly line is located.

 

Training of Chadian flight crew and technicians is currently underway in preparation for delivery of the aircraft later this year.

 

The Chad Air Force has a small transport fleet, comprising of a couple of Antonov An-26s (which entered service in 1994) and a single Lockheed Martin C-130 (which entered service in 1989). It is possible that the An-26s will be replaced by the C-27Js.

 

Chad began discussing the possible purchase of Spartans some years ago, with a leaked 2009 US diplomatic cable discussing the possibility of Chad buying C-130Js or C-27Js. “Purchasing C-27Js would be more economical for the GOC [Government of Chad] than buying C-130Js and might be no more expensive than buying refitted C-130Hs,” the cable read. “The C-27Js can land at many more airports in Chad than the bigger C-130s, either Js or Hs, thus complementing USG [US Government] efforts to make the Chadian military capable of combating terrorism in Chad's vast, remote, under-populated, and under-governed northern Saharan and Sahelian regions.”

 

Morocco is the only other C-27J operator in Africa, having bought four Spartans in October 2008. The first was delivered in July 2010. Morocco selected the C-27J for its ability to operate without under extreme environmental conditions, and without deployed ground support.

 

Alenia Aermacchi is gearing up to deliver another two C-27Js to Australia, as part of its May 2012 order for ten, and the final three of 21 for the US Air Force, which will place them in storage after the 2012 decision to stop flying the type.

 

The C-27J has been selected by more than ten countries, including Australia, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, the United States, Lithuania, Romania, Morocco, Slovakia, Mexico and Chad and has flown missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The aircraft has a payload capacity of 11.5 tons and can carry 60 troops or 36 litters with six attendants.

 

The Spartan’s closest competitor, the Airbus Military CN235/C295, has also been pushing for African sales, and has gained orders in Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt and Ghana.

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28 mai 2013 2 28 /05 /mai /2013 16:20
The “Spartan Team” has reappeared to market the C-27J Spartan to Canada’s Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Replacement Program, which finally looks to be set for launch. (Alenia photo)

The “Spartan Team” has reappeared to market the C-27J Spartan to Canada’s Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Replacement Program, which finally looks to be set for launch. (Alenia photo)

May 28, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Alenia Aermacchi; issued May 27, 2013)

 

Team Spartan Signs Teaming Agreement for Royal Canadian Air Force’s FWSAR Program

 

OTTAWA --- Alenia Aermacchi, General Dynamics Canada, and DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. (TCL) have signed a comprehensive teaming agreement to compete for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) upcoming Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Replacement Program.

 

The team will offer a market variant of the C-27J Spartan, Alenia Aermacchi’s best-selling medium tactical military aircraft. The offering will leverage Alenia Aermacchi’s international success with the C-27J, General Dynamics’ system integration experience, and DRS’ training expertise.

 

Alenia Aermacchi will serve as the prime contractor and will provide the green aircraft platform, including engineering support and avionics. The aircraft will be modified, missionized, and supported in Atlantic Canada by General Dynamics Canada. DRS TCL will provide long-term training support for the fleet. General Dynamics Canada will act as the team’s mission system integrator. It will be responsible for modifying the aircraft to accept high tech sensors and the computers that manage them, increasing the search and rescue crew’s ability to detect rescue targets. In addition, it will serve as the In-Service Support (ISS) integrator for the C-27J.

 

In close collaboration with Alenia Aermacchi, it will work with the RCAF to maintain the high level of fleet availability demanded by search and rescue operations. The DRS training development team will design, oversee and manage the creation and maintenance of all courseware and training aids for the duration of the contract. The training will support the operational mandate of the FWSAR fleet by making maximum use of electronic learning and simulation to optimize availability of the FWSAR aircraft for operational employment.

 

“This teaming agreement reaffirms our commitment to the Canadian market and to providing the Royal Canadian Air Force with the most capable, best value solution for the fixed-wing search and rescue replacement program,” said Ben Stone, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alenia Aermacchi North America. “Alenia is exceptionally proud to be working with these two Canadian defence companies who collectively have over 100 years of experience supporting Canadians and Armed Forces around the world. Our team has the right experience, expertise, and platform to best support Canada’s search and rescue program.”

 

The agreement will support new long-term, high-tech jobs, across Canada as well as investments in infrastructure and technology, making it an outstanding economic stimulus for Canada’s aerospace sector. Additionally, Team Spartan is well-positioned to strengthen the Canadian economy as its two Canadian companies have a history of tapping into the skills and resources of Canadian suppliers, developing Canada’s industrial base, and supporting research and development at the country’s leading universities.

 

David Ibbetson, General Manager, General Dynamics Canada spoke about the incremental value Team Spartan will create through this relationship: “The FWSAR program sets a high standard for Industrial Regional Benefits (IRB) requirements. As a company with an exemplary track record for delivering on their IRB commitments, General Dynamics Canada will continue to engage with local industry and suppliers on this opportunity, missionizing this aircraft in Canada and supporting it proudly for years to come as it plays a critical role bringing distressed citizens to safety. With Alenia’s C-27J as the platform, and working with local Canadian companies, we will set the standard for search and rescue capability.”

 

Steve Zuber, Vice President and General Manager of DRS Technologies Canada commented, “Canada has some of the most rugged and sparsely populated terrain on the planet and Canadians deserve the very best fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft available in the world today. The made-in Canada training solution will provide high quality aerospace jobs for Canadians and, more importantly, will ensure Canada’s search and rescue crews will be ready for the demanding job of keeping Canadians safe.”

 

Team Spartan continues to reach out to local aerospace and defence companies to identify service and product providers as well as potential subcontractors to complement the Team Spartan solution and drive economic benefit to the Canadian industrial base.

 

With an established Canadian presence for more than 60 years with employees in Ottawa, Calgary and Halifax, General Dynamics Canada is Canada’s largest defence electronics company.

 

DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. designs, manufactures and supports a broad range of military communications, electro-optics, surveillance, and sensor signal processing systems for naval and ground applications as well as electronic warfare threat simulation and training systems ranging from computer-based training to high-power threat simulators.

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25 mars 2013 1 25 /03 /mars /2013 17:50

C-27J – photo1 Alenia Aermacchi

Italian air force types including the C-27J will receive

ELT-572 DIRCM installations

 

Mar. 25, 2013 by Arie Egozi – FG

 

Tel Aviv - Work to install Elbit Systems C-Music directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) equipment on several Italian air force types is to begin soon, under the terms of a $15 million contract awarded to industry partner Elettronica in 2011.

 

Dan Slasky, vice-president of airborne electro-optics and laser systems at Elbit's Elop division, says the Italian air force will first install Elettronica's ELT-572 self-protection system onto its Lockheed Martin C-130J and Alenia Aermacchi C-27 tactical transports and AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters.

 

The integration work is to begin following a series of "very successful" tests performed by the Italian air force, Slasky adds.

 

Based on the use of advanced fibre laser technology, the Music system counters man-portable air defence systems by emitting a laser beam towards an approaching missile's seeker head, causing it to veer off course. Elbit says the open-architecture technology can be installed on any type of aircraft, with existing customers including operators of military, commercial and VIP-transport aircraft.

 

"There is a growing demand for the systems for protecting cargo and aerial refuelling aircraft. Each month we respond to at least one request for proposals," Slasky says, citing a "real and imminent" threat posed by shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles. However, integrating such equipment with commercial airliners remains a "complex issue", he adds.

 

Slasky also reveals that negotiations are taking place about potentially installing Music-series countermeasures equipment on aircraft for four Boeing customers. The US airframer and Elbit earlier this year signed a collaboration agreement enabling the former to offer different versions of the DIRCM technology with its fixed-wing and helicopter product ranges.

 

Boeing's Military Aircraft and Network & Space Systems organisations are working together to integrate the systems on to new and existing aircraft, as well as providing signature analysis and end-to-end services and support for the equipment.

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14 mars 2013 4 14 /03 /mars /2013 17:20

c130h

 

Mar. 14, 2013 - By BRIAN EVERSTINE – Defense News

 

The congressional mandate for the Air Force to keep 32 additional tactical airlifters will keep a Pennsylvania Reserve base alive and retain 24 more C-130s across all Air Force components.

 

The 911th Airlift Wing at Pittsburgh, Pa., will retain eight C-130s assigned to the base through 2014, Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., announced Wednesday. The C-130s were originally slated to be cut in fiscal 2013 budget plans. Murphy said in a statement that the decision will affect 1,400 active-duty airmen, reservists, technicians and civilians at the 911th.

 

The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act created an Intratheater Airlift Working Group to find 32 tactical airlifters to keep through the fiscal year that would be available to assist in the drawdown in Afghanistan. Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller, the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, briefed Congress Wednesday on the aircraft the Air Force will keep.

 

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said although the NDAA directed the Air Force to keep the additional aircraft, it did not provide additional funding for their operation, meaning the service will need to find the funding by reducing other programs.

 

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said recently that the directive to keep additional tactical airlifters would not reverse Air Force plans to cut all C-27J Spartans.

 

In addition to Pittsburgh, the Air Force will retain two C-130s at the 109th Airlift Wing in Schenectady, N.Y., and the 139th Airlift wing in St. Joseph, Mo. One C-130 will be kept at each of the following: 123rd Airlift Wing in Louisville, Ky.; 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston, W.Va.; 18th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.; 440th Airlift Wing at Pope Field, N.C.; 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio; and 914th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y.

 

The NDAA directed the Air Force to keep 358 total aircraft through fiscal 2013, but the service will keep that limit through 2014 to allow time for additional studies and to address sequestration before the fiscal 2015 budget cycle.

 

“Although we were required to retain aircraft only through the end of this fiscal year, we extended the aircraft through FY14 to allow time to complete additional analysis and to coordinate with our stakeholders,” Donley said in a release.

 

For fiscal 2014, the service also will keep eight aircraft that were to be decommissioned from the reserve 934th Airlift Wing at Minneapolis Air Reserve Station. Additionally, the service will retain one aircraft each at Louisville; Charleston; St. Joseph; Niagara Falls; the 136th Airlift Wing in Fort Worth, Texas; the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte, N.C.; and the 176th Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

 

The service said it also will keep additional aircraft to “enhance mission effectiveness.” Those five are at Little Rock, two for the 189th Airlift Wing, two at the 22nd Air Force Detachment 1 and one for the 19th Airlift Wing, along with one each at the 152nd Airlift Wing in Reno, Nev.; the 165th Airlift Wing in Savannah, Ga.; the 166th Airlift Wing in New Castle, Del.; the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, Ill.; and the 302nd Airlift Wing in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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16 janvier 2013 3 16 /01 /janvier /2013 08:35

C-27J – photo3 Alenia Aermacchi

 

14 Januari 2013 Defense Studies

 

The Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown welcomed the re-establishment of No.35 Squadron today at RAAF Base Richmond. 
 
“The re-establishment of No.35 Squadron will see it prepare for our fleet of ten C-27J Spartan Battlefield Airlift aircraft, due to arrive in Australia from 2015,” Air Marshal Brown said. 
 
“No.35 Squadron has provided combat airlift for Australia in several conflicts, and the C-27J is ideally suited to continue this legacy of support for personnel deployed on combat, peacekeeping, or disaster relief operations,” Air Marshal Brown said. 
 
No.35 Squadron will be re-established under the command of Wing Commander Brad Clarke with 25 personnel but will grow to approximately 250 members after the first C-27Js arrive in 2015. 
 
“Our first tasks are to work with the Battlefield Airlift Transition Office to map the required workforce structure, operating procedures and introduction plan for the C-27J Spartan,” Wing Commander Clarke said. 
 
“No.35 Squadron will send the first aircrew and maintenance personnel to train on the C-27J in the United States in 2014.” 
 
“Once in service, our C-27Js will greatly increase the number of airfields Defence can operate in to, increase the level of fixed wing support available on the battlefield, and synchronise with the existing C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster fleet,” Wing Commander Clarke said. 
No.35 Squadron was first established in Western Australia in March 1942 and provided air transport around Australia and in New Guinea until its disestablishment in June 1946.
 
In July 1964, the RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam was formed with the DHC-4 Caribou transport to provide combat airlift throughout the conflict in that country. It was coined Wallaby Airlinesafter its callsign ‘Wallaby’, and re-formed as No.35 Squadron in June 1966. Throughout the warWallaby Airlines carried about 677,000 passengers and 36 million kilograms of freight, without a single fatality.
 
On return to Australia in 1972, No.35 Squadron was based at RAAF Base Richmond before relocating to RAAF Base Townsville in 1974, where it remained until its disestablishment in 2000.
 

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21 décembre 2012 5 21 /12 /décembre /2012 12:45

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lDP2SeKXhvU/UNElKewM6cI/AAAAAAAAVzk/zLinapcceK0/s1600/Fusoliera_C-27j.JPG

 

20 December 2012 Pacific Sentinel

 

 

The fuselage of the first C-27J for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has arrived at the Alenia Aermacchi Turin plant for final assembly.
 
 
Manufactured at Alenia Aermacchi’s Capodichino Naples site, the fuselage, reached Turin both by truck (from Capodichino to the Port of Naples and from Genoa to Turin) and sea freight (from Naples to Genoa).
 
 
The Australian order for 10 aircraft was placed through the US Foreign Military Sales Joint Cargo Aircraft program last May.
 
 
C-27J Spartan (File Photo)
The first C-27J will arrive in Australia in early 2015, and will be used for tactical airlift. They will replace the piston-engine Caribou, which were retired in 2009 after 45 years of service.
 
 
In the tactical transport role, the C-27J provides the best possible integration with the existing Australian Defence Force fleet. It will provide an airlift capability between the CH-47 Chinook and C-130J Hercules, as well as integrating with the much larger C-17A Globemaster.​ 
 

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5 septembre 2012 3 05 /09 /septembre /2012 17:20

C-27J – photo1 Alenia Aermacchi

 

September 5, 2012. David Pugliese Defence Watch

 

This press release is from Alenia:

 

 Halifax, Nova Scotia, September 5, 2012 – Alenia Aermacchi, Alenia Aermacchi North America and its Canadian partners, General Dynamics Canada, Provincial Aerospace and DRS Canada are pleased to announce that their C-27J Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) configuration will include a Canadian mission system.  By partnering with well-established Canadian companies and committing to a Canadian mission system, Alenia Aermacchi resolves to make the C-27J Spartan the most suitable search and rescue platform available for Canada’s FWSAR mission.  The C-27J team will develop a SAR platform focused on Canada’s requirements, including the mission system, which will be designed and integrated in Canada, delivering economic impact and efficiency.  Furthermore, Alenia will work closely with the Canadian government, Canadian partners and vendors to assure the necessary technology transfer so Canadian firms have the technological capability to support the C-27J FWSAR solution in Canada, for the life of the program. Completing this work in Canada maximizes Canadian participation in the program and creates opportunities for Canadian industry to market similar solutions around the world.

 

The mission system, which includes high tech sensors and the computers that manage them, will greatly increase search and rescue crews’ ability to detect Canadians in need, such as mariners in life rafts or lost hikers in the mountains.

 

“The mission system will add significant search capability to the C-27J. Five years from now, we’ll wonder how we ever managed search and rescue missions without it,” said David Ibbetson, General Manager of General Dynamics Canada. “Eastern Canadian companies are a strong part of the C-27J team.  The program represents a great opportunity for Eastern Canada and our country as a whole; announcing our plans to missionize the aircraft in Canada, while here at DEFSEC, seems appropriate.”

 

In May, Alenia Aermacchi, Alenia Aermacchi North America, General Dynamics Canada, Provincial Aerospace and DRS Canada signed a Letter of Intent to partner on a proposal for a Canadian FWSAR solution.  Since that time the team has been working to develop the best path forward. In addition to its decision to missionize the C-27J in Canada, the team looks forward to the time when it can announce new teaming decisions and its plans to drive superior economic benefits to all parts of Canada, coast-to-coast- to-coast.

 

“After visiting our partners’ facilities in Ottawa, ON, Halifax, NS and St. John’s, NL, I am more confident than ever that the C-27J team is capable of producing a search and rescue platform that Canadians can be proud of – a platform that is not only tailored for Canada, leveraging world class Canadian technology, but one that helps build the Canadian economy through continued investment in technology, infrastructure and workforce,” said Alan Calegari, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alenia Aermacchi North America.

 

The C-27J Spartan is the most capable, cost effective, and uncompromising search and rescue aircraft available today. The C-27J is a twin-engine turboprop tactical transport aircraft with state-of-the-art technology in avionics, propulsion and systems, resulting in a high performance, cost effective and extremely flexible aircraft. The aircraft can operate in the harshest environments and over vast terrain and can provide the speed necessary to reach those in need, when time is short. The C-27J is a perfect fit for Canada’s FWSAR needs.

“Provincial Aerospace has been performing airborne surveillance missions in Canada for more than 30 years, flying over 150,000 hours and completing 25,000 incident-free missions,” said Mr. Keith Stoodley, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Provincial Aerospace. “We are intimately familiar with the demands of Canada’s oceans, arctic areas, and rugged terrain and we are confident that the C-27J Spartan is the best suited aircraft for Canada’s SAR needs. No other company in the world has the operational experience that we bring to the table and when combined with the team’s missionization experience, the FWSAR procurement process presents exceptional domestic and international opportunities for Canadian industry.”

 

As the program evolves, the C-27J team believes Canada’s approach to FWSAR is appropriate and practical. For example, when it comes to having a single point of accountability, the C-27J team is committed to having one entity responsible for all program performance, with others, including Canadian defence and aerospace companies responsible for fully supporting the aircraft for the life of the program. The C-27J team looks forward to the release of the draft Request for Proposal and the continued advancement of the project.

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9 juillet 2012 1 09 /07 /juillet /2012 17:15
Alenia Transforms C-27J Into Gunship

 

July 9, 2012. David Pugliese Defence Watch

 

Press release from Alenia:

 

Alenia Aermacchi is pleased to introduce a new version of the C-27J battlefield airlifter, the MC-27J. The MC-27J is a multi-mission, armed, Roll On/Roll Off (RO/RO) derivative of the C-27J Spartan. Alenia Aermacchi and ATK will jointly produce and market this new offering.

 

The new MC-27J is an adaptable, agile, and affordable solution for various airborne multi-mission requirements that today are performed by a wide variety of aircraft, including special operations versions of the C-130. The MC-27J is not just a gunship, but a battlefield tested platform equipped with proven sensors, communications, and weapons suite able to execute a wide range of customer-driven missions.

 

The MC-27J is designed to support air forces and Special Forces in performing several key operations, including: anti-terrorism missions, the evacuation of military personnel and civil populations from crisis areas, fighting asymmetrical threats and for all standard operations of the Special Forces. The MC-27J provides Special Forces a platform with quick transfer speed; long operational range and ample cargo capacity (console for the systems’ operators, troops and vehicles).

 

The MC-27J is capable of taking off from and landing on short and/or unprepared strips while acting as an autonomous command and control centre integrated with the ground command network. The MC-27J will also provide Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) capability as well as the ability to deploy paratroopers. Furthermore, the MC-27J’s target designation and on-board weapons systems provide outstanding support for ground operations.

 

ATK’s gunship capability is provided from a newly developed palletized weapons system, which is self-contained, modular, scalable and provides RO/RO flexibility. This palletized system integrates sensors, communications and weapons into a responsive and reconfigurable mission package. Specific features for the MC-27J system include enhanced electro-optical/infrared targeting sensors, a trainable 30mm cannon, precision guided munitions, advanced communications and a networked mission management and fire control system.

 

The MC-27J provides outstanding offensive capability utilizing a palletized weapon system specifically designed for the ATK 30mm GAU-23 cannon and other precision guided weapon systems, resulting in a highly effective system that minimizes collateral damages. The palletized system is designed for easy embarkation and disembarkation via the aircraft’s rear ramp; permitting flexibility in the use of the unaltered aircraft. The primary configuration requires minimal integration on the aircraft’s frame to significantly reduce acquisition costs and development times, while retaining the C-27J’s robust airlift capabilities.

 

At the core of the MC-27J is the C-27J Spartan, the best-selling battlefield airlifter, offering payload, persistence and out-of-area capabilities coupled with high performance; high maneuverability and the capability to operate on short, unpaved strips. The Spartan is currently the world’s best seller in the tactical airlifter’s category with 89 airplanes ordered by 9 countries all over the world including Italy, United States and recently, Australia.

 

The MC-27J offer commonality of equipments and systems with larger multi-mission platforms but at much lower operational costs and with the operational flexibility of being able to operate form shorter runways also in hot and high conditions, and as modern and reliable solution for those air forces interested in integrating their forces with a skilled airplane in a very delicate role but at the same time very flexible in its use.

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6 juillet 2012 5 06 /07 /juillet /2012 16:40
C-27J Spartan Refuels from KC-767A Tanker

 

July 6, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Alenia Aermacchi; issued July 5, 2012)

 

C-27J: Positive Tests for the Fight-Refueling with the KC-767A Tanker

 

TURIN, Italy --- The C-27J is carrying out flight-refueling tests with the KC-767A tanker at the Italian Air Force Base in Pratica di Mare with the collaboration of the 14th Stormo of the Italian Air Force, Alenia Aermacchi, Rolls Royce and Dowty, the latter two responsible respectively for the engines and propellers of the aircraft.

 

After a series of ground test that did not present any complications, the flight test conducted had the C-27J perform a series of contacts with the KC-767 at various altitudes between 10.000 and 20.000 ft. and speeds up to and near 220 kts, including night flight-refueling with the aid of Night Vision Goggles; in turning pattern, in turbulence and during an emergency decent.

 

The preliminary results highlighted the exceptional flying quality of the C-27J, in both the day and night contacts. The test confirmed the high capability of fuel transfer (up to 2800 liters\min) predicted in the planning phase, allowing for a complete replenishment of the tanks in only 5 minutes.

 

Also confirmed during these test was the superior quality of the C-27J as an aircraft receiver also in conditions of slipstream turbulence generated by the tanker.

 

An aircraft piloted by Alenia Aermacchi test pilots was used for these tests, modified with the integration of a complex instrumentation dedicated to controlling the engine parameters, propellers, transfer of fuel and flight controls, in order to meet the requirements requested by the military certification.

 

The objective of these tests was to achieve the certification of the flight-refueling system, that so far has been adopted on the 12 C-27Js in service in Italy and on one of the three units in service with the Lithuanian Air Force.

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6 juin 2012 3 06 /06 /juin /2012 17:00

C-27J – photo1 Alenia Aermacchi

 

Jun. 6, 2012 by Greg Waldron – FG

 

Singapore - Australia has entered a A$63 million ($61 million) contract with Italy's Alenia Aermacchi related to the sustainment of its future fleet of 10 L-3/Alenia C-27J Spartan transport aircraft.

 

"A contract has been signed with Alenia Aermacchi that will allow for the long term operation, maintenance, modification and upgrade of the C-27J aircraft and support systems," Australia's Department of Defence (DoD) said in a statement.

 

"The contract will also provide Defence with the ability to compete and sub-license third parties, including Australian industry, to provide the maintenance services, training services and the ability to modify the C-27J capability."

 

A DoD spokesperson told Flightglobal that the contract covers "technical data and intellectual property support not available from any other source."

 

"[The contract] will assure Defence's ability to independently establish and maintain airworthiness certification, life of type sustainment, future modifications that may be required, and cost-effective through life management of the aircraft and its support systems," the spokesperson said.

 

In early May Canberra, confirmed it will obtain 10 C-27Js for A$1.4 billion through the US foreign military sales (FMS) mechanism, with US firm L-3 Communications designated as the prime contractor

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5 juin 2012 2 05 /06 /juin /2012 11:30
photo Alenia Aermacchi

photo Alenia Aermacchi

 
 
04.06.2012 DEFENSE STUDIES
 
A contract has been signed with Alenia Aermacchi that will allow for the long tern operation, maintenance, modification and upgrade of the C-27J aircraft and support systems.
 
On 12 May, the Government announced the decision to purchase 10 Alenia C-27J Spartan Battlefield Airlift aircraft at a cost of $1.4 billion. The announcement also foreshadowed that Defence would seek a separate agreement with the C-27J manufacturer, Alenia, in order to ensure that the RAAF could operate, maintain and modify the aircraft throughout its planned life.
 
The contract, which is worth around $63 million, will also provide Defence with the ability to compete and sublicense third parties, including Australian industry, to provide the maintenance services, training services and the ability to modify the C-27J capability.
 
The C-27J will replace the Caribou aircraft which was retired from service in 2009 after a career spanning more than four decades. The C-27J complements the capabilities of the C-130 and C-17 aircraft and uses more common infrastructure and aircraft systems such as engines, avionics and the cargo handling systems.
 
The acquisition of the C-27J will significantly improve the ADF’s ability to move troops, equipment and supplies. The C-27J has the capacity to carry a significant load and still access small, sort, narrow runways that are too short for the C-130J or runways which are unable to sustain the repeated use of larger aircraft.
 
These aircraft will provide battlefield airlift but are also capable of conducting airlift in our region. They will be able to operate from rudimentary airstrips in Australia and overseas and will be able to support humanitarian missions in remote locations.
 
The flexibility of the C-27J allows it to undertake a wide range of missions from delivering ammunition to front line troops to undertaking aero-medical evacuation of casualties.
 

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31 mai 2012 4 31 /05 /mai /2012 18:00

C-27J – photo1 Alenia Aermacchi

 

May 31, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Alenia Aermacchi; issued May 30, 2012)

 

Alenia Aermacchi, General Dynamics Canada, Provincial Aerospace, and DRS Canada Announce Letter of Intent to Team on Canadian Fixed-Wing SAR Proposal

 

OTTAWA, Canada --- Alenia Aermacchi, Alenia Aermacchi North America and Canada, General Dynamics Canada, Provincial Aerospace, and DRS Canada today announced the signing of a Letter of Intent to partner on a proposal for a Canadian Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) solution. The companies are finalizing the terms and conditions of the partnership and will work towards a more definitive agreement in the coming months.

 

The partnership is being formed in response to the Department of National Defence (DND) plan to acquire a new FWSAR capability to replace the aging fleet of FWSAR aircraft. Selection of the new capability will be conducted through a competitive process, with a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) expected in the fall of 2012, and contractor selection projected for 2014.

 

Alenia Aermacchi’s C-27J Spartan is the most capable, cost effective, and uncompromising search and rescue aircraft available today. Canada’s requirements make the C-27J the perfect fit for their FWSAR needs. The aircraft can operate in harsh environments and across vast terrains and can provide the speed necessary to reach those in need quickly.

 

“The search and rescue teams need an aircraft they can count on no matter the conditions or distance. The C-27J is well suited to some of Canada’s harshest terrain where it will often be called into duty. The characteristics that made the C-27J the right solution for ten other national air forces will prove critical in Canada’s selection process as well,” said Alan Calegari, Chief Executive Officer of Alenia Aermacchi North America. “We are looking forward to working with our outstanding Canadian partners on this procurement.”

 

With Alenia Aermacchi’s C-27J, General Dynamics Canada’s experience in performance-based in-service support on aircraft, and Provincial Aerospace's search and rescue experience and international reputation as a special mission aircraft modification, integration, operations and MRO organization, this team offers Canada the very best aircraft for FWSAR with a strong Canadian presence. The long-term engineering and maintenance support of the fleet, and the resulting long-term, well-paying jobs across the country will make this partnership an outstanding economic stimulus for Canada’s aerospace sector.

 

“This team represents the best capabilities in Canadian industry, combined with the most capable aircraft in the competition,” says David Ibbetson, General Manager, General Dynamics Canada. “We are excited to be part of such a strong team, supporting Alenia’s C-27J for the FWSAR program. We are committed to providing RCAF air crews and SAR techs with the very best search and rescue capability in the world for decades to come.”

 

According to Brian Chafe, Provincial Aerospace’s Chief Operating Officer, “Our company has been supporting the Department of National Defence airborne surveillance mandate in Canada's challenging maritime environment for some 25 years. We know the demands of Canada's oceans, Arctic areas and rugged terrain first hand. The C-27J is the right aircraft for the job and the FWSAR procurement will result in an economic enabler with no parallel by creating domestic and international opportunities for companies to become part of Alenia's globalsupply chain.”

 

Steve Zuber, vice president and general manager of DRS Canada said, “DRS Canada is very excited to be a partner on the Alenia C27J team, and we look forward to expanding our significant presence in Canada into a strong relationship with the Royal Canadian Air Force.” Seasprite technicians, were often operating in challenging conditions. Nevertheless the trials were completed in a thoroughly professional, safe and timely manner.

 

"There will still be a considerable period of learning as we gain experience operating the aircraft on actual deployments."

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14 mai 2012 1 14 /05 /mai /2012 12:05

C-27J – photo3 Alenia Aermacchi

 

14 May 2012 airforce-technology.com

 

The Australian Government has selected L-3 Communications as the prime contractor for the delivery of C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft, in support of the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) battlefield airlifter programme.

 

The foreign military sales (FMS) programme, established in the US, has an approximate contract value of $600m and involves the supply of ten new C-27J aircraft worth about $300m, along with contractor logistics support, spares and training.

 

L-3 Integrated Systems Group corporate senior vice president and president, John McNellis, said: "The C-27J will serve the Commonwealth of Australia with superb performance, interoperability with international forces, as well as significant total life-cycle savings over the life of the programme."

 

The aircraft is expected to enhance the Australian Defence Forces' (ADF) ability to transport troops, equipment and supplies in the absence of the DHC-4 Caribou aircraft, which was retired in 2009 following the completion of 40 years' operational service.

 

Besides battlefield airlift, the aircraft is capable of conducting airlift from shorter airstrips across Australia, and will also be able to support humanitarian missions in remote locations.

 

Using common infrastructure and aircraft systems as the existing RAAF C-130 Hercules and C-17 aircraft, the C-27J can carry out a range of missions from delivering ammunition to front line troops to undertaking aero-medical evacuation of causalities.

 

The first C-27J is expected to be delivered in 2015 with the initial operating capability (IOC) scheduled for the end of 2016. All aircraft will be based at RAAF Base Richmond.

 

The selection of the C-27J follows an assessment by the Australian Department of Defence, during which the aircraft demonstrated its ability to fly further, faster and higher while carrying additional cargo than its rival contender, the Airbus Military C-295 transport aircraft.

 

The C-27J Spartan is a tactical transport aircraft designed to conduct cargo transportation, logistic support of military units, electronic surveillance, firefighting, and search and rescue operations.

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12 mai 2012 6 12 /05 /mai /2012 11:35

C-27J---photo3-Alenia-Aermacchi.JPG

 

May 11, 2012. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

From L-3:

 

NEW YORK– L-3 Communications (NYSE: LLL) announced today that it has been selected by the Commonwealth of Australia to provide the C-27J Spartan for the country’s Battlefield Airlifter program. The U.S. Foreign Military Sales program has an approximate contract value of $600 million and includes the supply of 10 new C-27J aircraft worth about $300 million, plus contractor logistics support, spares and training.

 

The announcement was made by the Australian Minister for Defence and the Minister for Defence Materiel on May 10.

 

“L-3 is proud to have been selected for the Australian Battlefield Airlifter program,” said John McNellis, L-3 corporate senior vice president and president of L-3 Integrated Systems Group. “We look forward to working with the U.S. and Australian governments to deliver this vital capability. The C-27J will serve the Commonwealth of Australia with superb performance, interoperability with international forces, as well as significant total life-cycle savings over the life of the program.”

 

To support the future force, the Battlefield Airlifter must be a multifunctional aircraft, able to perform logistical re-supply, medevac, troop movement, airdrop operations and humanitarian assistance. The C-27J is equipped to address each of these mission requirements and outperforms every other aircraft in its class, as demonstrated through exceptional performance during the U.S. Air Force’s current deployment in Afghanistan. The U.S. selected the C-27J over the C-295 through a competitive tender process in 2007.

 

Headquartered in New York City, L-3 employs approximately 61,000 people worldwide and is a prime contractor in C3ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems, aircraft modernization and maintenance, and government services. L-3 is also a leading provider of a broad range of electronic systems used on military and commercial platforms. The company reported 2011 sales of $15.2 billion.

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29 février 2012 3 29 /02 /février /2012 08:05
Alenia Warns U.S. Over C-27J Sales

Alenia Aermacchi, the Italian maker of the C-27J, is warning the U.S. government that it will refuse to support the aircraft it sold to the United States if the U.S. resells them to other nations. (Senior Master Sgt. David Lipp / Air Force)

 

Feb. 27, 2012 By VAGO MURADIAN – Defense news

 

SINGAPORE — In what analysts see as an unprecedented move, Alenia Aermacchi, the Italian maker of the C-27J, is warning the U.S. government that it will refuse to support the aircraft it sold to the United States if the U.S. resells them to other nations.

 

 

The move caught some U.S. officials by surprise and threatens to undermine American efforts to resell the planes on the international market, most likely to Australia, Canada or Taiwan.

 

Giuseppi Giordo, CEO of Alenia Aermacchi, explained his position in an interview at the Singapore Air Show here, before continuing on for meetings in Australia.

 

“Obviously, we don’t like the [U.S.] decision,” he said. “However, we respect it and we will try to mitigate any negative impacts from the cancellation of the C-27J.”

 

Giordo explained that the company would continue to support efforts to sell new C-27Js through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, but would exercise its contractual rights not to support the aircraft originally sold to the U.S. if those planes were resold on the international market, essentially competing with Giordo’s company.

 

“If they want to sell additional airplanes as FMS, we will support them, but not those 21 airplanes,” Giordo said. “In fact, we will do our best — not only us, but the Italian government — not to support those planes. In that case the U.S. government will be competing against our international campaigns in a market where 21 airplanes is a big deal.”

 

The U.S. Air Force announced it would end the program earlier this month after spending $1.6 billion for 21 aircraft, 12 of which have been delivered, four in final assembly and testing, and five in production. Officials have not specified plans for the C-27Js, and options include parking them in the desert for future use, transferring the planes to the Air Guard, Special Operations Command or another agency, such as Homeland Security, or reselling the aircraft internationally.

 

Air Force spokesmen said the decision was driven by a change in U.S. strategy and budget pressures, and is not a reflection on the aircraft or its performance. Officials simply concluded they could meet mission requirements with their fleet of C-130 and C-17 transports.

 

“We’re working through those issues for the C-27, also the Global Hawk, which in both cases represent new airframes,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told an audience at the Air Force Association’s winter conference in Orlando, Fla. “So we will probably set rules for Type-1,000 recoverable storage and lesser numbers for availability for us. Our international affairs staff ... are communicating to potential countries interested and partners asking for them to identify their interest.

 

“I think there are a number of avenues available to us. We have not selected a particular course of action. We will be putting that together and it does include potentially making these airframes available for sale to [partners].”

 

Heidi Grant, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs, said foreign interest is high in C-27Js, C-130H transports and Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft.

 

In Singapore, Grant met with nearly two dozen of her international counterparts during her visit to the Asian city-state. The aircraft to be divested by the U.S. since 2001, she said, would constitute the world’s seventh largest air force.

 

Grant added the Air Force is working to determine the future of the planes and waiting to see whether Congress approves the service’s budget. Selling excess aircraft is of interest, she said, because her mission is to improve “the capability and capacity of our partners.”

 

A Rare Stand

 

For the U.S. Air Force, ending the purchase of C-27J transport planes was just one of thousands of decisions needed to help cut Pentagon spending by nearly a half-trillion dollars over the coming decade.

 

But for Alenia, a Finmeccanica company, the decision is a threat to the future of the twin-engine plane and 1,000 workers at two factories that build it.

 

Once a nearly $6 billion Army program for 145 aircraft, the Air Force took over the effort in 2009 and capped the purchase of C-27Js at 38 planes. But in its recent 2013 budget request, it decided to end the program at 21 aircraft, 17 fewer than expected, and retire the fleet next year.

 

It remains unclear how much the Air Force will save by deferring the option for 17 additional aircraft, or if the service will even be required to pay Alenia a termination fee, sources said.

 

Analysts called Giordo’s stance unprecedented, but understandable in light of market dynamics and the Italian company’s bitter experience with Pentagon contracting over the past decade.

 

Alenia’s sister company, AgustaWestland, beat longtime incumbent Sikorsky to win the U.S. presidential helicopter contract, only to have the $6 billion program for 28 aircraft canceled in the early days of the Obama administration after constant design changes by the government sent costs soaring. Nine helicopters were delivered when the program was canceled; they were later sold to Canada for $164 million.

 

Defense trade has emerged as the source of uncharacteristic discord between Washington and Rome, which have long been close allies. Italy hosts thousands of U.S. troops on its soil and remains a major buyer of American military gear, most notably the Joint Strike Fighter that will cost Rome about $15 billion for 100 aircraft. But the fact that America won’t buy Italian products infuriates some executives and officials.

 

Giordo maintains his tough line on the C-27J won’t hurt his company’s prospects in the U.S. Alenia remains a key partner on the multinational Joint Strike Fighter program and will pursue the Air Force’s trainer replacement contract when that competition gets underway formally in a few years. And Finmeccanica’s DRS Technologies continues to serve as the cornerstone of the Italian giant’s U.S. operation and a key DoD supplier, now under the leadership of former Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn.

 

L-3 Communications is the prime contractor for the U.S. C-27J program, performing final integration of the aircraft in Waco, Texas. The company declined to comment on Giordo’s stance, noting it’s a matter between Alenia and the Air Force.

 

With the U.S. order capped and the aftermath of U.S. and European budget cuts, the C-27J’s prospects have dimmed. A derivative of Alenia’s G222 with new engines and avionics, 62 C-27Js have been sold worldwide: 21 to America, 12 to Italy, eight to Greece, seven to Romania, four to Mexico, four to Morocco, three to Bulgaria and three to Lithuania.

 

Alenia has identified South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Taiwan, Egypt, Oman, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Qatar and “potentially UAE” as future customers.

 

Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group in Virginia, said the 21 planes the U.S. might want to sell constitutes the bulk of the world market for such small transports — and is equivalent to two years’ output from Alenia’s factories.

 

That explains why the stakes are high enough for Giordo to take such a hard stance.

 

“I am pragmatic,” Giordo said. “I prefer they put the airplanes in the desert.”

 

Message to Potential Buyers

 

Giordo said he will take his message that his company won’t support U.S. aircraft to all his potential C-27J customers such as Australia, which has expressed interest in the planes. He visited Australia Feb. 15-17.

 

The message to the Australians is that “you can buy on FMS and we will support the FMS case for 10 additional airplanes,” Giordo said. “But if they consider selling the 21 [U.S. planes], no way. They can sell, but as the original equipment manufacturer, I will not give spares, not guarantee configuration control, and so on.”

 

Alenia has fought an uphill battle to crack the U.S. market. Lockheed Martin first partnered with Alenia on the C-27J, only to abandon the program when it concluded it would compete with Lockheed’s four-engine C-130J. Then Boeing signed on as a partner, but it too withdrew its support. Eventually, Alenia partnered with L-3 and won a deal for up to 145 light battlefield transports valued at $6 billion, beating EADS’ C-295.

 

“We have two problems,” Giordo said. “First of all, the price that we have with the U.S. government is a very, very, low, low price because to win the competition we had to reduce the price. Second, the volume at the beginning was 145, then 78, then 38, now 21 with firm, fixed price. We are losing money.

 

“So, how can I allow the U.S. government to sell 21 airplanes they have in their inventory where I lose money and they also kill my international marketing?”

 

Sympathy for Alenia

 

But that stance does have its risks for Alenia Aermacchi, which stands to compete when the U.S. Air Force launches a new jet trainer competition in three years.

 

That competition was to have gotten underway later this year, with Alenia to bid a U.S. version of its M-346 trainer against the T-50 by Korea Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin and a new version of BAE Systems’ Hawk trainer sold by Northrop Grumman. Boeing is also considering developing an all new aircraft for the competition.

 

Asked whether his C-27J stance could damage relations with the U.S. Air Force, Giordo said, “I do not see what consequences our decision should have. Our decision is based on a product of a specific program and not meant to jeopardize the relationship with such an important customer and partner. I am sure that we will continue our collaboration with the United States, on, for example the [Joint Strike Fighter] program.”

 

He added that he is confident the M-346, which was selected by Singapore and most recently Israel, is a strong product that would satisfy U.S. requirements.

 

Senior U.S. aerospace executives expressed sympathy for Giordo, saying Alenia has been dealt a particularly tough hand.

 

“They fought like hell to win that contract and priced the plane to win but didn’t leave a lot of profit margin,” said one senior executive. “That’s why he can’t afford to have the U.S. government sell the planes they have. But we’ve all been through that. We bid for programs that we think will be for hundreds of planes that over time dwindle to a handful; it’s just that Alenia’s smaller than we are, so this kind of thing hurts even more.”

 

“No doubt about it, it’s a tough message, but you can’t blame them because by any objective measure, this company has faced a series of setbacks not of its making,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute think tank, who also has served as a strategic adviser to Alenia’s parent, Finmeccanica. “It invested heavily to break into the U.S. market, winning the presidential helicopter and the Joint Cargo Aircraft. Both were terminated, and two Air Force helicopter programs they were eager to compete for, search and rescue and supporting ICBM fields, were canceled.”

 

Teal analyst Aboulafia agreed, noting that the only recent parallel to Alenia’s position was between Boeing and Airbus two decades ago.

 

“Back in the ‘90s, Airbus said it wouldn’t support A340s Boeing took from Singapore in exchange for 777s,” he said. “It was ultimately resolved after Airbus realized that not supporting the planes would hurt residual values for all A340s. What Alenia wants to do is effectively embargo its own product. It’s an aggressive stance, but my question is how this plays out in reality. It’s extremely difficult to enforce on any sophisticated product with a whole lot of subcontractors and third-party suppliers.”

 

Aboulafia suggested the move is more a negotiating tactic than a final position, noting it’s never good for business to squeeze a customer.

 

“Customers have a tendency of noticing how you treat other customers,” he said. “On the other hand, it’s a great little airplane that’s living hand to mouth at a run rate of just under one per month, not a lot in the pipeline and with few prospects like Taiwan and Australia.

 

“You can say one thing in Finmeccanica’s favor, they’ve worked hard. Given all that’s happened, whether cancellation of the 27, the presidential helicopter, competitions going away or being delayed like the trainer, the degree of fatigue and annoyance with U.S. procurement of foreign systems is quite understandable, so what do they really have to lose? It’s very understandable, but it might not be tenable.”

 

Marcus Weisgerber in Washington and Tom Kington in Rome contributed to this report.

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27 janvier 2012 5 27 /01 /janvier /2012 08:25
USAF, Army Still Squabbling Over C-27J

Photo: C-27J Team

Jan 26, 2012 By Amy Butler - aviation week and space technology

Washington - U.S. military officials are keen on saying they never intend to fight the last war. This is their way of indicating a focus on future conflicts, not on the past.

Apparently, this sentiment does not apply to the interservice skirmishes at the Pentagon. The U.S. Army and Air Force are in the final throes of hashing out an updated agreement on the time-sensitive, direct-support airlift mission, the latest chapter in a years-long saga over how to ship supplies to remote soldiers despite two wars and one stunted buy of Alenia’s C-27J.

The agreement is being made between the chiefs of staff of both services. At issue is how the time-sensitive airlift mission will be handled; this includes the shuttling of small loads of supplies to forward Army units in the field.

The outcome of this cargo rub between the two services could be the first of many such roles-and-missions scrapes. As the Pentagon looks to save money by killing some programs or nixing new ones, the Army and Air Force are also on a crash course regarding the small fleets of tactical, fixed-wing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft that each have procured since the start of the Iraq invasion in 2003. In the case of the General Atomics Gray Eagle and Reaper UAS, the developmental Enhanced Medium-Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (Emarss) and MC-12W Project Liberty aircraft, the services operate very similar systems. In at least one case—with Emarss and the MC-12W—lawmakers have suggested that only one service manage a unified fleet.

As it did with its rotary-wing fleet, the Army is trying to reduce the number of unique airframes in its tactical ISR fleet, says Maj. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield, who heads up the Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Ala. “We have a plan to divest of some of the different types of aircraft [and shift to] fewer single airframes.” Without saying which aircraft would be let go, Maj. Gen. Tim Crosby, the Army’s program executive officer for aviation, says the service must “pick those that have been the best bang for the buck.”

Though Crosby notes there is still more work to be done on this, the airlift debate is raging.

“The concern is the logistics part,” says Crutchfield. “What we have to sort out is: ‘Who does that?’”

If this sounds familiar, it is.

The last installment of this tug-of-war took place in 2005 when, during his first major speech to the Air Force Association, the then Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, announced he wanted a new light cargo aircraft. This was considered odd as the Army was in the midst of setting up its future cargo aircraft program, which was then crafted to replace old C-23 Sherpas and provide more immediate access to commanders for cargo support. At the time, the Army moved ahead with its own program because it felt that it had lackluster support by the Air Force to properly back its needs.

Underscoring the need for direct-support activities were the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that called for distributing supplies around small, remote Army outposts. Not only were the Sherpas aging, they lacked pressurized cabins, making it difficult to operate them at high altitude in places such as Afghanistan, says Col. Patrick Tierney, director of the Army’s aviation directorate.

Moseley’s push, along with his similar and later move to take over the Army’s burgeoning UAV force, was seen as an abrupt roles-and-missions grab by the Air Force in the midst of these two wars. In the case of the cargo aircraft role, the USAF won.

At the direction of then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in 2009 the Air Force took over authority for the C-27J buy and control of the direct-support mission; service officials said they would combine the use of C-27Js and C-130s to provide cargo lift for the Army (though Army officials had long complained that C-130 support was inefficient owing to underloading of these larger aircraft).

Army officials say that in actuality, the CH-47 Chinook fleet has been unduly burdened in providing timely support because the helicopters are used to shuttle goods from C-130s that land at hubs to the remote locales where soldiers are stationed.

“The major rub to us is responsiveness and not efficiency,” says one Army official who requests anonymity. “When a part is needed at the front line, it flies” and shouldn’t have to wait for enough requests to fill a C-130, the official adds. “We are more about effectiveness than efficiency, and [the Air Force is] more about efficiency than effectiveness.”

So, the questions now are: What is the right number of small cargo-lifters for the direct-support role, and how should the mission be managed?

Though both branches agreed to USAF control of the mission in the 2009 pact, the Army is now insisting that language be added to clarify its needs—specifically emphasizing responsiveness, especially when parts or supplies are called for at forward-operating locations.

USAF Lt. Gen. Herbert Carlisle, deputy chief of staff for operations, acknowledges what he calls a “natural tension” for Army commanders wanting quick support.

The outcome of this deal will directly impact how soldiers at such sites are supported in Afghanistan.

Army officials had long argued that an Army officer must oversee this mission to ensure that its commanders’ needs take priority; the fear is that the USAF will de-emphasize Army unit requirements against the more strategic priorities of regional cargo movements. USAF, however, has long countered that it best knows how to provide airborne logistics support across a fleet of aircraft, including the C-27J, C-130 and C-17.

In 2009, the Air Force conducted a demonstration of the direct-support mission using C-27Js and C-130s in Iraq; this validated the service’s plans for a mix of the two for the mission.

Two C-27Js were deployed to Afghanistan in late July 2011 and quickly started flying operational direct support missions, Gen. Raymond Johns said last fall. The C-27Js are apportioned to Army officials there via Tacon (tactical control), although USAF pilots fly the missions, but the C-130s are not. This means the C-27Js are specifically set aside only for intratheater/direct-support missions under Army authority. Though C-130s are used for this mission, they can be reassigned elsewhere in the area, if needed, Johns said.

Army officials are less than satisfied with the Air Force’s delays in delivering C-27Js to the field. At least six were to be in Afghanistan by now, and why they have not been deployed is the “golden question,” the anonymous Army official said.

One industry official says the Army is “trying to hold the Air Force’s feet to the fire to do what they signed up for” in the 2009 pact.

Alenia has delivered 13 of 21 C-27Js on contract. Originally, Alenia officials projected the U.S. market for the C-27J (including Army/Air Force buys) to support as many as 125 aircraft. Tierney said that in 2005, the Army’s projections set a low risk of handling the mission with a fleet of 78 C-27Js and a moderate risk at 54. When Gates shifted the C-27J program from Army control to the Air Force, the buy shrank to 38 aircraft.

The sharp reduction in procurement numbers prompted Alenia to scrap its plans to open a final assembly facility in Florida; the aircraft are being delivered from a plant in Italy.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz indicated during a recent testimony to Congress that the C-27J faces termination—possibly before all 38 are delivered—due to fiscal pressure. Service officials contend that maintaining a separate fleet for this mission adds to its spending for unique training and logistics, whereas a C-130-based mission could build off of an existing infrastructure. It is unclear whether the service would keep the C-27Js already delivered or divest of them entirely.

Numerous lawmakers and governors associated with states slated to host C-27J Guard units have written to Schwartz, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter advocating the program. Some of them argue not only for the national security advantages of the aircraft but also note that without those units, jobs in their districts will be in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, Crutchfield notes that the Army’s C-23 Sherpas still support war operations. Without better direct support from USAF, the Army would have to pay $350 million to keep old C-23s operating, and they would still lack a pressurized cabin, Tierney says. Carlislie expects the updated pact to be signed in days.

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23 décembre 2011 5 23 /12 /décembre /2011 08:25
Bulgarian Air Force C-27J photo kos93

Bulgarian Air Force C-27J photo kos93

22 December 2011 - by the Shephard News Team

 

Alenia Aeronautica has signed a framework agreement that will see it define the procedures for the supply of logistic support services to the C-27J fleet of the Bulgarian Air Force. The work will cover a ten year period, with a first contract signed to cover the first five years.

 

Worth 25 million euro, the contract includes, in addition to the spare parts, ground support equipment, technical material, maintenance inspections, training activities, also a specific and continuous on-site technical assistance, thanks to a ‘Field Service Representative’ at Sofia’s Bulgarian base, to fully meet the technical-operational requirements of the customer.

 

The last of three C-27Js were delivered to the Bulgarian Air Force earlier this year, following a contract signed in 2006.

 

According to the company, the C-27J is a new-generation tactical transport aircraft compliant with NATO standards and interoperable with heavier airlifters in service with other Atlantic Alliance countries and also capable of operating in the most complex operational scenarios, thanks to its active and passive self-defence systems. The Bulgarian C-27Js are equipped with self-defence systems that significantly improve the aircraft’s capability of operating in the most difficult operational conditions.

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