The first C-130J-30 tactical transport for the French Air Force has been rolled out of the paint shop. The aircraft will be operated by a new Franco-German transport unit.
Lockheed Martin reports that the first C-130J-30 military transport aircraft for the French Air Force has been rolled out of the paint shop.
France has placed orders for a total of four C130Js — two stretched C-130J-30 airlifters and two KC-130J tankers. The aircraft are needed due to premature ageing of French Air Force C160 Transalls and an urgent requirement for additional medium tactical airlift capacity in operations.
The aircraft will be operated as part of a new joint Franco-German transport unit, to be based at the French AF base at Evreux. The new unit will also comprise six German C130Js, which have been ordered to bridge the gap after the C-160 is withdrawn from service in 2021.
The two countries' defence ministers signed a declaration of intent one year ago to set up a pooling structure for their combined fleet of C130Js. A formal agreement on the creation of the joint unit was signed by the French and German chiefs of staff on 18th October. Initial operating capability is scheduled for 2021, with full operational capability targeted for 2024.
From 2021, the flight crews and maintenance technicians of the Franco-German squadron will be trained in a new joint training centre to built in Evreux.