C295s for Ghana, C-27Js for Mexico

 - August 15, 2011, 5:15 AM
Europe’s rival medium-size airlifters–the Airbus C295 (inset) and Alenia C-27J (foreground)–are running neck-and-neck in total sales.

Airbus Military and Alenia announced new orders for their rival medium-size tactical transports. Airbus Military has sold two C295s to the Ghana Air Force, which will use them for troop transport, paratrooping, medical evacuation and humanitarian operations. The company said the C295 was chosen because of its ease of maintenance and proven operational capabilities in any environment, including deserts. Meanwhile, a previous customer for the C295 has also bought Alenia C-27J Spartans. In July Alenia announced the sale of four aircraft to the Mexican Air Force in a deal worth $200 million including multi-year logistics support. The first C-27J will be delivered this year, and the remainder by the end of next year.

These competing European airlifters have logged similar sales totals. Airbus Military claims orders for 85 C295s from 14 customers (a reduction on its previous tally). Alenia has logged orders for 83 C-27Js from nine customers.

At the recent Paris Air Show, Alenia said it might develop a special-forces variant of the C-27J called Pretorian, including weapons, EO/IR sensor and communications intelligence suite. In addition, last month the U.S. Air Force deployed two of its C-27Js to Afghanistan for the first time, where they joined aircraft operated by the Lithuanian and Italian air forces.