Lockheed Martin Rollout of the German Air Force C-130J Super Hercules Military Transport
Lockheed Martin Rollout of the German Air Force C-130J Super Hercules Military Transport

Lockheed Martin Rollout of the First German Air Force C-130J Super Hercules Military Transport

According to a Twitter post by the Team Luftwaffe, Lockheed Martin has rolled out the first operational C-130J Super Hercules military transport for the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). In 2018, Germany announced the acquisition of six Super Hercules aircraft to be operated in partnership with French Air Force. 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. 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.

Lockheed Martin Rollout of the German Air Force C-130J Super Hercules Military Transport

In 2017, France and Germany approached AFLCMC to procure two C-130 models for Germany to enable the creation of the joint squadron. At the time, the French C-130 aircraft were already in production. The US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) has delivered C-130 aircraft to a joint French and German squadron at Évreux-Fauville Air Base, France. The joint squadron received two C-130J Super Hercules and the first of two KC-130J aircraft. The programme includes the delivery of a total of seven aircraft by 2026. The plan involved the sale of aircraft to Germany and France separately. The programme also involved a plan to negotiate directly with the French military for fleet sustainment. The joint squadron creates a mechanism wherein a French pilot and a German loadmaster can work with the same aircraft.

Lockheed Martin Rollout of the German Air Force C-130J Super Hercules Military Transport

The squadron’s four French Air Force C-130Js are stationed at Air Base 123 at Orléans-Bricy pending their move to Évreux in Normandy where the joint Franco-German air transport squadron will be based. The German Air Force reported that a maintenance hangar for three aircraft is being built at Évreux where 10 C-130Js will be based, half of which will be tanker versions. The 16-strong German national support element is scheduled to move to Évreux in April along with seven Bundeswehr civilian personnel, followed by French members of the squadron in July and 40 Luftwaffe pilots, technicians, load masters, clerks, and administrative staff in August. The squadron’s IOC will be provided by two C-130J transports and two KC-130J tankers from the FAF, with the six German aircraft to be delivered at the rate of one every six months starting in February 2022.

Lockheed Martin Rollout of the German Air Force C-130J Super Hercules Military Transport

The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The C-130J is a comprehensive update of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems. As of February 2018, 400 C-130J aircraft have been delivered to 17 nations. The C-130J is the newest version of the C-130 Hercules and the only model still in production. In 2015, the French Air Force ordered 4 Super Hercules to supplement existing capabilities due to the ongoing problems and delays of the ordered Airbus A400M. In January 2017, German defence minister announced the intention to purchase up to 6 C-130J Hercules to acquire tactical airlift capabilities due to the delayed deliveries of the Airbus A400M. Together with the C-130J of the French Air Force this will form a joint air transport squadron.