ODOLENA VODA, Czech Republic --- Today, AERO Vodochody a.s. (AERO) has completed the assembly line for the production of the C-27J military transport tactical aircraft center wing box for Alenia Aeronautica, Italy, member of the Finmeccanica Holding.
The first center wing box should be completed in Vodochody in this year's 3rd quarter.
"The production of the center wing box for the Italian customer represents a delivery with high value added as well as high labor input, which exactly corresponds to the potential of AERO and its development aims. We expect that this program will be as important as the dominant Sikorsky S-76 production regarding revenue and profit," said Peter Ondro, President of AERO.
The production line has been completed just two days after Finmeccanica won an important contract in the USA. The C-27J Spartan has been selected by the US Army and Air Force as the new tactical transport aircraft for the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program. In a ten-year period, Finmeccanica should deliver up to 207 units of this aircraft in a total value of USD 6 billion. “For AERO, such volume of deliveries will represent an increase in the originally planned production capacity by 100%, in some periods even 200%,” stated Monika Vajnerova, AERO Vice-president for Aerostructures.
From September 2006 to May 2007, individual workplaces were dismantled at Piaggio Aero in Genoa, Italy, the original supplier of the center wing box, and subsequently installed in Vodochody, all the tools having been adjusted and thoroughly checked.
The first two units will be assembled out of parts fully delivered from Alenia Aeronautica. AERO has already started part production for further six center wing boxes out of material delivered from Alenia. Starting with the ninth center wing box, which should be delivered in August 2008, AERO will take over complete production, including material purchase.
The center wing boxes will be delivered from AERO to the final assembly line of the C-27J aircraft in Turin-Caselle, Italy. “AERO has already started the production of the center wing boxes during the assembly of the production line and our experience shows that we will get to the original production duration (delivery times) a lot earlier than we estimated,” added Ludek Viteznik, AERO C-27J Program Manager.
The contract on delivery of the C-27 center wing box was signed on September 2, 2006. AERO obtained the first order for two units on September 27 and further six units on November 20, 2006.
The Aerostructures Programs currently represent approx. 75% of the Company revenue. The production of practically complete S-76 helicopter for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation remains the key aerostructures program in AERO.