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C-27J Spartan Approved By Italian Military (Jan. 17)

The C-27J Spartan, built jointly by Italy's Alenia Aeronautica and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and powered by two Rolls-Royce AE 2100 engines, has been awarded Italian Military Type Certification.

Stan Yackel, C-27J program director for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Marietta, GA, said: "This is the most significant milestone in the development program and demonstrates the abilities of our transatlantic team. Military certification is a major step toward a low risk production program."

The military certification, awarded at the end of 2001 by Italy's Ministry of Defense, Direzione Generale Armamenti Aeronautici (DGAA ), focused on tactical performance and included tests for short field operation, paradrop, unprepared runway operation and tactical landing.

The flight test program began in September 1999 and during the overall certification program, the Lockheed Martin/Alenia team conducted 445 flights, accumulated roughly 800 flight test hours and met 4,600 flight test points.

The DGAA's certification builds on the civil certification achieved by Italy's civil airworthiness authority, Ente Nazionale Per L' Aviazione Civile (ENAC).

The 4,637hp Rolls-Royce engines are designed and produced at Rolls-Royce's Indianapolis facilities. They are close derivatives of the engines that power both the modernized Lockheed C-130J Hercules, being introduced into service in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Australia, and the Saab 2000 regional airliner in use in Europe. The AE 2100D2 engine model for the C-27J was certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in May last year, and by ENAC in June.

In addition to the benefits provided by the AE 2100 powered propulsion system, the C-27J shares cockpit digital avionics technology with Lockheed Martin's C-130J.

The C-27J Spartan is being marketed to military operators around the world, including the U.S., Greece, Brazil, and Australia. The Italian Air Force is expected to be the lead customer for the aircraft, having announced their intention in late 1999.

"The outstanding capabilities of the C-27J, coupled with the proven performance of the Rolls-Royce AE 2100D2 engine provides a remarkable product for the medium tactical airlifter market," said Richard B. Lewis II, Chief Operating Officer, Rolls-Royce Corporation.

The aircraft marketing team has garnered support from the National Guard Association of the U.S. (NGAUS) resulting in a recent resolution in support of acquiring the aircraft for Army National Guard units. Their resolution states that "current Army Theater Airlift is being performed by aging aircraft that are commercial variations modified to perform a military mission. Current Army National Guard Theater Airlift aircraft are not pressurized and have significant weight and cargo-size limitations." The NGAUS resolution states that the C-27J "meets all current and future requirements of Army and Army National Guard Theater Airlift and is available for immediate procurement."

The Lockheed Martin-Alenia joint venture selected the Rolls-Royce AE 2100 to power the C-27J in 1997. The two AE 2100D2 engines driving Dowty six bladed composite propellers provide operational advantages in the aircraft's range, cruise ceiling, and reduced operating costs when compared to comparable aircraft in use today.


Rolls-Royce AE 2100D2 C-27J Spartan Awarded Italian Military Type Certification