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Luftwaffe C-130Js to have special operations capabilities

German C-130Js are to be equipped for the SOF role, a senior Luftwaffe official has disclosed. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Germany is to equip its Lockheed Martin C-130J transport aircraft for the special operations forces (SOF) role, it was revealed in late November.

The Head of the Air Transport/Jet/Unmanned Aircraft System Branch at the German Air Force Command, Colonel Stefan Kleinheyer, made the disclosure during the SAE Media Group Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

The SOF capabilities consist of equipping the aircraft for high altitude low opening/high altitude high opening (HALO/HAHO) parachuting, forward arming and refuelling point (FARP), and special operations surgical team (SOST) missions, Col Kleinheyer said, without detailing further.

Germany has to date taken all three C-130J-30 airlifters, with the same number of KC-130J-30 tankers to follow by 2024.

The Luftwaffe aircraft are part of the Franco-German Binational Air Transport Squadron (BATS) ‘Rhein/Rhin' stationed at the French Air and Space Force's (AAE's) Air Base 105 in Évreux-Fauville.

The full operational capability (FOC) of the BATS is scheduled to be declared in 2024, the Commander of the AAE's Air Mobility Brigade, Brigadier General Fabrice Feola, said at the conference.

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