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’.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihs.com/contact