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Luftwaffe receives first Hercules

The Luftwaffe received the first of six Lockheed Martin KC/C-130J Hercules aircraft, with the arrival of aircraft 55 + 01 (tail number 5930) at the Évreux-Fauville Air Base in northern France on 19 February.

The arrival of the first Luftwaffe Hercules at the home of the newly established Franco-German transport squadron in Normandy came just weeks after an official handover ceremony was held at the Marietta production facility in the United States on 1 February.

55 + 01 is the first of three ‘stretched' C-130J-30 airlifters that Germany is contributing along with three ‘short‘ KC-130J tanker-transports to the new joint transport squadron, with the French Air and Space Force contributing two C-130J-30s and two KC-130Js. 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.

“Ten aircraft, two nations, one association – there has never been anything like this in Europe,” the Bundeswehr has previously said.

As noted in the earlier US government approval for the Germany Hercules 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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