The Aeronautical Armaments and Airworthiness Directorate (DAAA) of the Italian Ministry of Defence has approved a $426m (€380m) support contract for the Italian Air Force’s C-130J Super Hercules airlifter fleet.

Under the contract, the Temporary Business Grouping (RTI) of Leonardo, Avio Aero and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will provide technical and logistical support for the C-130J fleet.

The contract has a tenure of five years.

As underlined by the Logistic Command’s 2nd Division, the contract activities involve the deployment of a technical-logistical model.

This model offers integrated logistical support (ILS), ‘in-house’ engineering support and ‘on-site’ support via operational technical representatives at the 46th Air Brigade in Pisa.

The aircraft maintenance activities are also expected to be conducted at Leonardo plant in Tessera near Venice and the Avio Aero plant in Brindisi.

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Avio Aero strategy, marketing and sales vice-president Pierfederico Scarpa said: “This contract undoubtedly represents a further consolidation of our historic partnership with the Italian Air Force.

“The C-130J fleet is indeed one of the most strategic of the whole armed force. Furthermore, under this agreement, Avio Aero will provide a ‘performance-based logistics’ service to support the AE 2100D3 engines.

“This is an innovative and increasingly used model that in this case will allow Avio Aero not only to optimise performance, but also to implement ever more effective and functional solutions in response to the needs of the Italian Air Force.”

Separately, Leonardo is set to deliver two additional Eurofighter jets to Kuwait around mid-March, Reuters reported quoting sources with knowledge of the matter.

The company delivered the first two jets in December last year.