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Wed, Jan 30, 2008

Slovenia Nixes Purchase Of C-295s Following Poland Accident

Twenty Lost In January 23 Downing; Tree Strike Suspected

The fatal downing of a CASA C-295M troop transport in Poland earlier this month has led the Defense Ministry of Slovenia to cancel its planned purchase of the type, according to Reuters.

The Polish plane -- carrying 16 members of the country's armed forces returning from a flight safety conference, and four crewmembers -- crashed in a heavily-forested area in northwestern Poland on the evening of January 23, as it approached to land at an air base near Miroslawiec.

All onboard the twin-turboprop transport were lost, and the investigation into what went wrong is still underway. Early reports indicate the plane may have clipped trees on its approach to the base.

It's unknown whether a fault exists with the C-295 -- which, until the Poland crash, had not been involved in a fatal crash in its 10-year history -- that may have led to the downing... but the accident was enough to rattle Slovenian officials, who earlier this month selected the C-295 for its own transport needs.

"The security of Slovenian soldiers and military personnel is at the top of our standards," the Defense Ministry said this week. "Under the circumstances the ministry decided to stop the process of a purchase of a tactical transport plane for the army."

The C-295 is manufactured by Spanish planemaker EADS-CASA. As ANN reported, the type was also one of the contenders for the US military's Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program, but lost out on the bid to the C-27J Spartan.

FMI: www.mors.si/?id=home&L=1, www.casa.eads.net

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