LANGKAWI, Malaysia — Australia’s air force has made it clear publicly that it prefers the Alenia over the .
The chief of the Australian air force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, says a letter of request (LOR) has been issued for the C-27J, but no such request has been issued for the C295. All that has been issued for the C295 is a request for information in regard to pricing, he says.
Australia has a long-standing requirement for tactical transport aircraft to fill the void created when the country’s military phased out its de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou aircraft. It is clear that the C-27J is a more expensive aircraft, so the Australians may be using the C295 pricing to negotiate a more competitive deal with Alenia.
Brown says the issue the air force has with the C295 is there are some types of Australian army military vehicles that the C295 is unable to transport. He cites as an example the army’s new G-Wagon all-terrain vehicles.
He says armies in Europe may be content to just drive a G-Wagon, but “you have long distances in Australia,” so these vehicles have to be transported by air.
The Australian air force could use larger aircraft, such as its, to transport the G-Wagons. But Brown says “then you end up with small loads on the C-130 and this is not an efficient use” of the aircraft. He also says the air force wants to avoid a situation in which the Australian armed forces’ Chinook helicopters are used for airlifting such cargo. These helicopters are “better for tactical scenarios,” he adds.
Brown spoke to Aviation Week on the sidelines of the LIMA Airshow in Langkawi, Malaysia, on Dec. 7.
Military chief Domingo Urena-Raso also spoke to Aviation Week at the show. He says he hopes that Australia will open up the tactical transport requirement to a competition in which the C295 is allowed to participate.