In July 2011, Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica announced a $200 million contract with Mexico to supply 4 of its C-27J Spartan light tactical transport to the FAM (air force), plus spare parts and ground support equipment. Delivery will be fast. The first C-27J is slated for delivery at the end of 2011, and all 4 will arrive by the end of 2012.
The sale is a bit of a sting to EADS-CASA, which was recently folded into Airbus Military. The Spanish firm has traditionally seen Latin America as a strong market, and Mexico was already a customer. Mexico already operates or has ordered modified CN-235s and C-212s for naval surveillance, and larger C-295s are already operated as utility aircraft. The C-27J has been the C-295’s global rival, with the main difference involving better C-295 operating costs and endurance, vs. the Spartan’s ability to carry internal military loads like helicopters and tactical vehicles. Mexico will now operate both types, giving it some commonality with the globe’s largest C-27J operator next door. The Spartan beat the C-295 in the USA’s Joint Cargo Aircraft competition.