(NSI News Source Info) ROME - February 4, 2009: In an unusual outsourcing decision, Italian firm Alenia Aeronautica plans to employ a Turkish company to undertake structural work on an aircraft it is supplying the Italian Air Force. Alenia is "90 percent certain" it will outsource to Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) work on four ATR 72 maritime patrol aircraft it is selling to the Italian Air Force, a company official said. "This has been agreed with the Italian Air Force, and we are now discussing details with TAI," said the official at Alenia, a unit of Italy's Finmeccanica. An ATR72 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant of the -500 (itself a version of the maritime patrol variant of the ATR 42-500) is also in production and has been selected by Turkish Navy and Italian Navy for ASW and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) duties. Ten aircraft will be delivered to the Turkish Navy beginning in 2010. Italy's order of four aircraft will begin deliveries in 2012. For ASW and ASuW missions, the aircraft will be armed with a pod-mounted machine gun, light-weight torpedoes, anti-surface missiles, and depth charges. They will also be equipped with the AMASCOS (Airborne Maritime Situation and Control System) maritime surveillance system of Thales, as well as electronic warfare and reconnaissance systems, and will also be used for maritime search and rescue operations. It's the kind of work Alenia might do itself. But the logic in the deal stems from the fact Alenia has already contracted TAI to convert 10 ATR 72 civilian aircraft - which are built by Alenia and EADS - to anti-submarine warfare (ASW) configuration for delivery to the Turkish Navy. "We see the deal as saving money and benefiting from Turkish know-how," said the official, who acknowledged that the reduction of similar aircraft conversion activity within the Finmeccanica group had influenced the decision. That activity was undertaken by Finmeccanica unit Aeronavali, although the unit has been restructured following a diminished demand for passenger to cargo aircraft conversions. Work by Aeronavali converting Boeing 767 aircraft to tanker format for Italy has also been taken over by main contractor Boeing. "The restructuring of Aeronavali is a contribution" to the decision to outsource to TAI, the Alenia official said. Italy has picked for its maritime patrol aircraft the ATR 72/600, a new version of the ATR 72 boasting a glass cockpit, which will be certified next year and which has also been selected by Turkey for its ASW aircraft. The first of Italy's four aircraft will delivered to TAI in Ankara from the Alenia-EADS production line in Tolouse in 2010. TAI is expected to undertake structural work to ready the aircraft for mission systems, sensors and protection systems. "The first one should take 13 months, which takes us to 2011, at which time the aircraft will be flown to Alenia's Turin facility for flight tests," the official said. The first delivery to the Italian Air Force is expected in 2012, with subsequent deliveries to follow at six-month intervals. While Italy is ordering maritime patrol aircraft, it is set to request that the ATRs are ready to be upgraded to undertake ASW missions in the future, meaning a rear boom will be installed ready to take a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), which Turkey's aircraft will have immediately. The aircraft will also be fit for sonar buoys and reinforcements will be made to support armaments. An Italian industry source said that an initial contract Italy had signed with Alenia in December was worth about 255 million euros ($332 million) and covered the supply of the four ATR 72 aircraft in maritime patrol configuration with relevant mission and protection systems, meaning a unit price of just under 64 million euros. A second contract to be signed by June will then cover the structural work needed to render the aircraft fit for an eventual ASW upgrade, as well as five years of logistics support. An Italian defense source said the total outlay would be 350 million euros - rather than the 400 million touted in recent parliamentary documents - meaning the second contract will be worth around 95 million euros. Even if it decides to upgrade its ATR 72s to ASW configuration, Italian defense officials have said they still plan to acquire a fully fledged multimission aircraft like the new Boeing P-8 in the future.
Positive Words To Live By
17 hours ago