The Italian government has signed a contract with Alenia Aeronautica for the purchase of the first five of 12 C-27J Spartan airlifters.
The contract for the aircraft, which was jointly developed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Alenia Aeronautica, will be worth over $200 million to Lockheed Martin.
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.
The C-27J Spartan is based on the twin-engine C-27A/G.222 airlifter. It has the same dimensions as the C-27A/G.222, but with improved performance and a digital 1553B-based integrated avionics suite.
The C-27J is said to incorporate 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 reportedly benefit from the commonality derived from equipping the Spartan with common avionics and propulsion systems as the Hercules J model.