Saturday, March 28, 2015

Deal with Alenia Aermacchi Raises Hopes of Aircraft Acquisitions

C-27J Spartan
Chile has signed a collaboration agreement with Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi to provide support services for the C-27J tactical transport plane and the M-345 advanced trainer jet. Chile does not have either plane in its inventory, which raises the possibility that both aircraft will be acquired. Both, in fact, have been under consideration for years but Chile never has reached the stage of signing a purchase agreement. The Italian company says it plans on a "long-term commitment." Chile's Air Force and Army have shown interest in the C-27J Spartan as a replacement for the C-212 and C-235 transports. FACh has eyed the M-345 as the final layer in its training fleet, which has the Pillan basic trainer, the Halcon trainer jet and the Super Tucano turboprop, which shares a role as light bomber. Enaer, the FACh-operated aerospace company, will provide the support services and receive technical know-how from Alenia Aermacchi. Severe flooding in the normally dry north of Chile the past week has underscored the need for transport aircraft as the military rushes aid and rescue teams. With scores of towns and cities cutoff by floodwaters, helicopters and planes capable of landing on short or unimproved runways are essential assets. Reports from the disaster area show that Chile could use more of them.

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