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23 Jan 03. Finmeccanica SpA and Boeing Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday aimed at bolstering industrial and commercial collaboration in the aerospace and defense sectors.

Future joint projects could include satellites, missiles, rocket launchers, avionics, unmanned aerial vehicles, new airplanes, and new ways to use old planes, the two companies said in separate press conferences held in Rome and Chicago.No details of new projects were revealed.

However, Giorgio Zappa, chairman of Finmeccanica’s aerospace unit Alenia Aeronautica SpA, said a scheme to convert passenger planes into cargo planes ” could take place within a few months.” The cost of converting an MD-11 or Boeing 767 into a freighter is $8 to $12m, he said.

Boeing and Finmeccanica have engaged in joint projects before, including missile defense and the design of new generations of aircraft. Finmeccanica and Boeing will each appoint two senior managers to an executive steering committee charged with identifying further projects.

“This memorandum of understanding fits well in the current international context,” Finmeccanica Chairman and Chief Executive Pier Francesco Guarguaglini said. “It will help with the joint mission of keeping the peace.”

Comment: Boeing is quietly positioning itself in Europe for what looks to be in the future a major drive into the market place by JV or acquisition. With Finmeccanica and BAE SYSTEMS in serious discussions to form EUROSYSTEMS and Boeing and BAE SYSTEMS talking about further co-operation could a mega deal involving all three be on the cards? Watch this space!

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