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CLARA MOSCHINI

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Leonardo loses an important order in the USA

Are there the choices of Moretti at the base of this defeat?

The US Air Force (USAF) announced yesterday the winner of the tender for the new advanced training aircraft, announcing that the $ 9.2 billion contract for the supply of 351 airplanes and 46 simulators will be signed with the consortium formed by Boeing and Saab, which with their project, based on a smaller version of the Gripen modifiable at will by the technicians of the USAF, have managed to get the better of the T-100 presented by Leonardo DRS (the version United States of the M-346T) and the T-50 proposed by Kai together with Lockheed Martin. A new victory for Boeing that in the last month has brought home three contracts with the US armed forces: the first for the drone (UAV, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) MQ-25 Stingray that will serve the US Navy as a tanker; the second for the MH-139 helicopter that will replace the UH-1N "Twin Huey" presented together with Leonardo; and the third with the new trainer aircraft announced yesterday.

On the contract awarded yesterday the Italian aerospace company Leonardo was penalized by the fact of not having allied with an American company, since initially the T-100 seemed to be the real favorite being already in use (as M-346T) in Italy and in Israel where he demonstrated his skills and reliability. A missed opportunity, also because the possibilities of alliance had been: first there was the possibility to agree with Boeing after having found the agreement to present a modified version of the helicopter AW-139 in the program of substitution of the dated "Huey", but above all because at the time of Aermacchi an agreement had been found with Boeing on the M-346 program. Agreement canceled by the non-strategic intervention of the former CEO of Leonardo Mauro Moretti. This decision depended on the outcome of the race, because after the agreement with Boeing, Leonardo attempted to agree first with Northrop Grumman, then with General Dynamics and with Raytheon, but the alliance did not held up for a long time, forcing the Italian company to participate alone, with DRS as prime-contractor.

But although the US subsidiary DRS was used to present the plane in the TX program, in the United States for a company owned by a third country it is difficult to get it on the local company. Especially with Boeing that, since Donald Trump arrived at the White House, are signing contracts for the armed forces and are receiving new orders for the construction of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the F-15E Strike Eagle, after that the Obama administration had decided to close the acquisitions of the "old" aircraft to focus on the new generation ones.

red - 1214752

© AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency Srl
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