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Defence
First French C-130J takes to the air
First French C-130J takes to the air
© Lockheed Martin

| Emmanuel Huberdeau

First French C-130J takes to the air

The first Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transport for the French Air Force made its maiden flight on 22nd November.

The French Air Force has released photos of the maiden flight of its first Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules tactical transport, which is due to be delivered by the end of the year. The aircraft — first seen after rolling out of the paint shop in October — took off from Lockheed Martin's Marietta facility on 22nd November.

France ordered two C-130Js, along with two KC-130J aerial refuelling tankers, in 2015. The first C-130J is due to be delivered by the end of the year and arrive in France early in 2018. The first KC-130J is scheduled for delivery in 2019.

France will be the 17th country to operate the C-130J. The French Air Force already operates the C-130H version and is currently upgrading the aircraft's avionics. The C-130J is equipped with new Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 engines and new avionics. Speed and service ceiling have both been increased.

The KC-130Js will be able to perform in-flight refuelling of French Air Force H225M Caracals.

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