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The Italian government signed a contract with Alenia Aeronautica for the purchase of the first five of 12 C-27J Spartan airlifters. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Alenia Aeronautica jointly developed the C-27J.
“”This is a very significant event for the C-27J program, and the technical teams have performed extraordinarily well to complete the development of the baseline airplane,”” said Stan Yackel, Lockheed Martin’s C-27J program manager. “”This certainly paves the way for future customers to sign up for C-27J Spartans to modernize their fleet with true military airlifters.””
Delivery of the first fully configured C-27 to the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI) is expected by mid-2005, with the final aircraft to be delivered in late 2006. Actual contract value and production schedule will be available after the final contract is released to Lockheed Martin.
The C-27J Spartan is based on the proven twin-engine C-27A/G.222 airlifter. It has the same dimensions as the C-27A/G.222, but with substantially improved performance and a digital 1553B-based integrated avionics suite. The C-27J incorporates a similar propulsion system and advanced technology used on the C-130J Hercules that includes Rolls Royce AE2100D2 engines with six-blade Dowty composite propellers, advanced avionics, and a new glass cockpit.
The AMI will be the first air force to operate both the C-130J and the C-27J and will benefit from the commonality derived from equipping the Spartan with common avionics and propulsion systems as the Hercules J model. The AMI’s G.222 fleet will be gradually reduced and retired as the Spartans are introduced to service.
“”This event clearly defines the commitment by Italian government to complete the activities to produce the world’s finest light-medium tactical airlifter,”” said Ted Samples, vice president of Special Mission and Reconnaissance Aircraft programs for Lockheed Martin. “”This program is now proof that two international customers can work together cooperatively to produce the finest military equipment, with the latest technology, at affordable prices for customers around the world.””
First flight of the C-27J Spartan was on Sept. 24, 1999, at Alenia Aeronautica’s flight-test center in Turin, Italy. The C-27J was Civil Type Certified to JAR 25 in June 2001 and received Military Type Certification by Italy’s Ministry of Defense in December 2001.
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