The tactical military transport aircraft C-27J, jointly developed by Alenia Aeronautica - a Finmeccanica Company - and the U.S. Lockheed Martin, has been chosen by the Bulgarian Defence Ministry within a selection process for the supply of eight units aimed at replacing the current fleet of Antonov An-26 airlifters. Contract negotiations are due to start shortly.
The Italian-U.S. aircraft will be used for troops and material transport in and out of the national boundaries, within the operations scenario ruled by NATO agreements (Bulgaria is a NATO member since April 2004). The C-27J will allow the Bulgarian Armed Forces, engaged in a modernisation campaign, to use aircraft able to fully respect the interoperability standards, requested to the Atlantic Alliance Countries.
The C-27J is currently the most advanced new-generation programme of military tactical transport aircraft.
It has been ordered so far by the Air Forces of Italy (12 units) and of Greece (another 12 units). In the U.S. the aircraft is a candidate for the military transport aircraft modernisation programme, called FCA (Future Cargo Aircraft), while in Canada it is being proposed for the search-and-rescue aircraft fleet renewal. The C-27J is also under evaluation by Portugal, Australia, Taiwan, Ireland and other countries recently become NATO members.