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EDA to fund separate European future airlift projects

The loss of the world's largest airlift, the An-225, in the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has exacerbated a shortfall in strategic airlift that one of the two EDA-funded projects aims to address. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The European Defence Agency (EDA) is to fund two separate projects to develop future European airlift capabilities.

The European Union's (EU's) Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) organisation announced the move in late January, saying the projects are geared at developing medium and strategic airlift capabilities for the 2035+ timeframe.

“The EDA will support two PESCO projects focused on shaping future European airlift capabilities, for both mid-sized and outsized cargo, following a request from their project co-ordinators. [The] EDA is tasked to assist with harmonisation of the requirements for two platforms: the Future Medium-Size Tactical Cargo (FMTC) and the Strategic Air Transport For Outsized Cargo (SATOC),” PESCO said.

As noted in the announcement, both the FMTC and SATOC were launched in the fourth wave of PESCO projects, and are co-ordinated by France and Germany, respectively. The FMTC also includes Germany, Spain, and Sweden as project members, while SATOC sees France, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands as partners.

Janes first reported the launch of the FMTC programme in June 2022, with the effort geared at developing a replacement for the current fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, Airbus Defence and Space (DS) CN235/C295, and Leonardo C-27J fleets after 2035. This new medium-lift transport aircraft would operate alongside the Airbus DS A400M, which has recently entered service.

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