Qioptiq logo Raytheon


By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE

22 Jun 07. In our BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.9 ISSUE 24 15 June 2007 we gave detail of ‘L-3 WINS JCA REQUIREMENT.’ At Paris both the winners and losers gave details of the bids. It is worth repeating our piece and to give more detail.

L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. on Wednesday beat out rival Raytheon Co. to win a Pentagon contract worth up to $2bn to build cargo planes for the military. A senior advisory panel at the Pentagon picked a team led by New York-based L-3 to build 78 C-27J Spartan cargo planes by 2013, replacing the military’s aging light cargo aircraft, senior Army and Air Force officials said.

L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, L.P., of Greenville, Texas, was awarded a firm-fixed price contract June 13, 2007, estimated at $2.04bn for procurement of up to 78 Joint Cargo Aircraft (C-27J Spartan).This includes pilot and loadmaster training, and contractor logistics support for the United States Army and Air Force. The contract consists of three 12-month ordering periods for Low-Rate Initial Production and two 12-month options for Full-Rate Production. Four bids were received under the full and open competition in response to the March 17, 2006, request for proposals. Work in the United States will be performed at Waco, Texas. Aircraft manufacture will occur in Italy. Work is to be completed by June 30, 2012.The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity(W58RGZ-07-0099).

Analysts expected L-3’s team, which includes Italian partner Finmeccanica SpA’s subsidiary Alenia North America Inc., Boeing Co. and Global Military Aircraft Systems to beat Raytheon. The Waltham, Mass.-based company teamed up with CASA, a subsidiary of European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co. NV, and offered to build C-295s.

To date, 32 C-27J aircraft have been ordered: 12 by the Italian Air Force, 12 (plus an option on three) by the Greek Air Force, five by the Bulgarian Air Force and three by the Lithuanian Air Force. Romania also selected seven aircraft. Bids to supply the C-27J are also under way in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia, and the aircraft is currently being evaluated in Australia, Canada and some Middle Eastern countries. The C-27J is produced in the Alenia Aeronautica plants of Pomigliano, near Naples, and Turin-Caselle.

The selection of the C-27J is another success notched up by Finmeccanica companies on the US market. These include helicopters for the presidential fleet and the achievements of AgustaWestland’s line of civil helicopters, manufactured at its Philadelphia plant. In addition, Alenia Aeronautica and US partner Vought manufacture 26% of the structure of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner commercial aeroplane and Elsag produces the licence plate reading system. Finmeccanica companies AgustaWestland, OTO Melara, Elsag, Selex Sistemi Integrati, MBDA, Thales Alenia Space, Telespazio, AnsaldoBreda and Ansaldo STS all have a presence in the US, employing around 1,600 people in total.

While both companies make twin-engine turboprop planes, L-3’s C-27J is considered larger, heavier and more technologically advanced than the C-295. Ironically the development of the C-27J emanated from an offset agreement signed when Italy bought the Lockheed Martin C-130J. Alberto de Benedictis CEO of Finmeccanica told BATTLESPACE that Finmeccanica had given Lockheed an ultimatum of three days to join the bid or plough tier own furrow with the C-130J offering and later the shortened C-130J. Ironically the C-27J has the same Rolls engines and avionics as the C-130J. Lockheed Martin decided to go its won way, confirmed by Robert Stevens at the Media Dinner on Sunday. Finmeccanica is concerned that the next stage could be for the rival bidders to lobby to stop funding of the deal.

The L-3 plane costs slightly more than the cargo plane Raytheon offered but it has performed better on shor

Back to article list