France and Germany's defence ministers have agreed to create a joint air transport squadron that will operate Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft.
The letter of intent (LoI), signed in Paris on 4 October, will see the Franco-German air transport squadron become operational by 2021. France is set to act as the frame nation of the squadron, which accordingly will be stationed in France.
France currently operates 14 C-130 aircraft (seven C-130H and seven C-130H-30 transporters) and has ordered an additional four aircraft (two C-130Js and two KC-130J tanker/transport). Germany doesn't currently operate the C-130 and so is planning to buy between four and six aircraft as its contribution to the joint squadron.
From the German point of view the primary task for the squadron will be non-combatant evacuation operations, especially for German and European nationals in crisis situations. The C-130Js will also close a German capability gap between the NHIndustries NH90 medium transport helicopter and the larger Airbus A400M transport aircraft.
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