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France receives first C-130J Hercules

01 January 2018
The first Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules for the French Air Force was delivered in December. Source: Armée de l'Air

The French Air Force (Armée de l’Air: AdlA) has received the first of four Lockheed Martin C/KC-130J Hercules transport/tanker aircraft at Orléans-Bricy in late December.

Transport Squadron 2/61 ‘Franche-Comté’ based at Air Base 123 Orléans-Bricy received the first C-130J-30 on 22 December. The official delivery ceremony will take place in January 2018.

Two C-130J-30 stretched airlifters and two KC-130J tankers were purchased through a US Foreign Military Sale (FMS) contract of 29 January 2016, that also included training, spares, support systems, and two-years initial maintenance.

The first C-130J-30 will be joined by an identical aircraft in 2018, with the two KC-130Js arriving in 2019.

In September, France established the 62th Transport Wing at Orléans-Bricy, comprising ET2/61 ‘Franche-Comté’, Transport Squadron ET 03.061 ‘Poitou’, and Aeronautical Technical Support Squadron.

Air Base 105 in Évreux will host C-130Js to be acquired by Germany according to an agreement signed by the French and German chiefs of staff on 18 October. The C-130Js will relocate to Évreux in 2021.

The French C-130Js will complement C160R Transall aircraft, which will be phased out in 2023, as well as C-130H Hercules, A400M Atlas, CN235-100M, and CN235-300M transports. The two tankers will deliver a comprehensive airborne refueling capability to the AdlA’s Airbus Helicopters H225M Caracal combat search and rescue (CSAR) platforms of Helicopter Squadron EH 01.067 ‘Pyrénées’.

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