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Lockheed Martin holds Hercules handover ceremony for Germany

A ceremony to mark the earlier official handover of the first Hercules to the Luftwaffe was held at the Marietta production facility in the US on 1 February. (Bundeswehr)

A ceremony to mark the handover of the first Lockheed Martin KC/C-130J Hercules aircraft for Germany was held at the Marietta production plant in the United States on 1 February.

Announced by the Bundeswehr, the event was held few weeks after the formal handover of the first of six KC/C-130Js to the Luftwaffe took place at the same location on 23 December 2021.

News of the milestone followed the first flight of aircraft 55 + 01 (tail number 5930) on 8 November 2021. With this first aircraft now received, delivery to the newly established Franco-German transport squadron is expected to follow shortly.

The Luftwaffe is contributing three ‘short' KC-130J tanker-transports and three ‘stretched' C-130J-30 airlifters to the joint unit it has set up with the French Air and Space Force at 123 Air Base Orléans-Bricy, pending its move to Évreux. With France contributing two KC-130Js and two C-130J-30s, this C-130 air transport squadron will have unrestricted exchange of aircraft, aircrews, and maintainers, as well as technical and logistical support based on a common pool of spare parts and a common service support contract.

As noted in the earlier US government approval for the sale, the KC/C-130Js “will provide crucial air refuelling capability to German and French fighter and light transport aircraft, as well as helicopters, at the same time as supporting deployed troops, regional security, and interoperability with the United States”.

The joint air transport squadron is scheduled to achieve full operating capability in 2024–25.

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