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New Cargo Aircraft Could Help Reduce IED Attacks

Monday, Nov. 13, 2006

A C-295 aircraft, the first of two candidates to become a new "joint cargo aircraft" (JCA) for the U.S. Army and Air Force, appears to have passed its early flight tests, according to an official from Raytheon Co., the leader of a corporate team bidding for the JCA business. The Army is aiming to speed the acquisition of the new cargo aircraft because of its potential to reduce improvised explosive device attacks. The plane would do so by taking troop convoys off the roads in battle zones such as Iraq, transporting troops by air instead.

The flight tests, concluded Nov. 1, reflected what is clearly a sense of urgency on the part of the Army to acquire the new aircraft, according to Jim Hvizd, vice president of Raytheon and leader of his company's JCA team.

Next up to undergo flight testing, which the armed services term an "early user survey," is a C-27J aircraft, the JCA entrant offered by a corporate team led by L-3 Communications. That test is "about to begin," an L-3 representative said on Oct. 31.

The Army and Air Force are expected to choose between the Raytheon and L-3 JCA offerings by March of next year. "All signs are looking toward a March contract award," Hvizd told World Politics Review. ...

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