Rheinmetall and Thales have been tasked with certifying the future training centre organization for the Franco-German C-130J transport aircraft fleet. The two companies are participating in the project as subcontractors (50/50) to Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor of the France/Germany Multinational Training Centre and manufacturer of the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft. The training centre is to be established at Ã‰vreux in Normandy, home to the French Air Force’s 62nd Transport Squadron, and will host the new French and German C-130J Super Hercules aircraft as a joint transport squadron. The accompanying training centre is to be certified as an Approved Training Organization (ATO), certified by the French civil aviation authority (DGAC).
Awarded in March 2021, Rheinmetall and Thales will provide personnel and services related to the certification of the training centre organization. The training centre qualification is to be completed in Q1 2024, and the training operation will commence in 2024. The initial establishment and certification phase may be followed by an optional operating phase. If the operating phase is awarded, Thales and Rheinmetall will provide all management personnel, qualified flight and ground crew instructors as well as maintenance personnel for the operation of all training devices.
The Franco-German transport aircraft project is one of Europe’s key air force programmes. In Ã‰vreux, Germany and France intend to jointly operate a total of 10 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft starting this year. The plan calls for joint cockpit crews as well as mixed teams on the ground. France has already taken delivery of a total of four Super Hercules, whereas Germany will contribute six aircrafts to the squadron, with deliveries starting in 2022. These six aircrafts will replace the German Transall C-160. With this project, Thales and Rheinmetall are continuing an already successful cooperation in the field of Franco-German aviation training, within the TATM “Tiger Aircrew Training Means”, for the German and French crews of the Tiger attack helicopter.
The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) reporteded on 10 March that the binational C-130J Super Hercules Squadron air transport squadron being formed by France and Germany is to reach its initial operational capability (IOC) on 1 September as planned despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The French and German squadron consists of a combined 10 Super Hercules aircraft. In 2018, Germany announced the acquisition of six Super Hercules aircraft to be operated in partnership with French Air Force (ArmÃ©e de l’Air et de l’Espace) France has received a total of four Super Hercules aircraft through a Foreign Military Sale with the U.S. government. France’s Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules are operated in conjunction with its existing C-130H fleet.