Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica company, welcomes the decision taken by the Australian Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel to purchase 10 new built Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan Battlefield Airlift aircraft at a cost of around 800 million Euro (AUSD 1.4 billion).

The acquisition of the aircraft will be conducted through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) arrangement with the United States and the contract will be awarded to the partnership between L-3 (as prime contractor) and Alenia Aermacchi. The contract will also include associated support equipment, several years of initial logistic support, training for aircrew and maintenance personnel and additional capability to ensure that the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) can operate, maintain and modify the aircraft throughout its planned life.

“This achievement represents a milestone in Finmeccanica’s strategic expansion in the high-potential international markets like Australia and confirms the value of a successful program such as the C-27J”, Giuseppe Orsi, Finmeccanica’s Chairman and CEO, said. “In addition to the contract award for NATO’s Cyber Security and the selection of the M-346 trainer by Israel – both of which occurred in the first months of 2012 – this announcement proves Finmeccanica’s capability to be a major hightechnology global player, thus reaching the top position of the most advanced ‘Made in Italy’ brand. The investment in technology is for Italy the best way to ensure its sustainable development, thus maintaining and developing the Country’s industrial capabilities, rendering them even more competitive in the international markets”.

First aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2015 with the Initial Operating Capability scheduled for the end of 2016.

Giuseppe Giordo, CEO of Alenia Aermacchi and Responsible for the Aeronautics sector of Finmeccanica, commented: “This is a confirmation that when the capabilities lead a requirement, the Spartan is the best choice in the market. The C-27J is a combat proven tactical airlifter that will guarantee to the RAAF performances, effectiveness and interoperability with the existing transport fleet. We are fully committed to enable RAAF to operate and maintain the capability autonomously throughout the aircraft service life”.

“Australia’s choice of the C-27J – added Giordo – which closely follows the delivery of the 1000° ATR and the selection of the M-346 trainer by Israel, represents the result of the profuse commitment by Alenia Aermacchi in the International markets. In particular the Australian order is an important result that serves to provide major support to the development of engineering capabilities and safeguards the work force of Alenia Aermacchi in both Campania and Turin production sites respective commitments in the production activity, the integration and final assembly of the C-27J”.

The C-27J will replace the Caribou aircraft which was retired from service in 2009 after 40 years of service. The C-27J complements the capabilities of the RAAF C-130 and C-17 aircraft and uses common infrastructure and aircraft systems such as engines, avionics and the cargo handling systems.

The C-27J has already been ordered by the air forces of Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Morocco, Mexico and by the US Air Force and selected by Slovakia’s air force. The total number of aircraft ordered goes up to 89, as the best seller among aircraft of its category”.

The C-27J is a twin-engine turboprop tactical transport aircraft with state-of-the-art technology in avionics, propulsion and systems. It provides high performances, high cost effectiveness, extreme operating flexibility and is the only aircraft of its class offering interoperability with heavier airlifters.

Finmeccanica’s aeronautical sector, led by Alenia Aermacchi, has a role of primary importance in the world’s civil and defence aeronautical industry, counts a total workforce of ca. 12,000 people and operates in the design, development, production and integrated support of commercial and military aircraft, trainers, unmanned aerial vehicles and aerostructures. In 2011 it reported revenues of € 2.7 billion, orders of € 2.9 billion and a backlog of € 8.6 billion.