Defence has confirmed to Australian Aviation that it has requested pricing and availability for the Airbus Military C295 tactical airlifter.
The confirmation comes two weeks after a release from Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare that the government had requested the same from the US Government for an FMS sale of the Alenia C-27J Spartan.
The October 19 ministerial release highlighted that the C-27J request had been submitted “due to the pending closure of the production line” after an order for 38 aircraft for the US Air National Guard is fulfilled, but it is curious as to why no similar release regarding the C295 was issued.
Defence and industry sources have recently indicated that the RAAF prefers a sole-source buy of the C-27J, as the aircraft has better performance, it has a taller cargo bay better able to accommodate Army vehicles, and there are advantages of tagging on to the end of the US ANG buy (although it is also more expensive than the C295). Therefore, it is also unclear as to whether the requests for both types indicates that Defence is now considering holding a competition between the two aircraft for the Air 8000 Phase 2 requirement to replace the RAAF’s now retired Caribous.