The first Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules aircraft for German Air Force (Luftwaffe) made its maiden flight on 8 November. Aircraft 55 + 01 (tail number 5930) departed Lockheed Martin’s Marietta production facility in the US state of Georgia for its inaugural test flight, ahead of delivery to the newly established Franco-German transport squadron in early 2022. In January 2017, German defence minister announced the intention to purchase 3 C-130J and 3 KC-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.
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.
The squadron’s four French Air Force C-130Js are stationed at Air Base 123 at Orleans-Bricy pending their move to Evreux 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 Evreux 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 Evreux 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 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. Externally similar to the classic Hercules in general appearance, the J-model features considerably updated technology. These differences include new Rolls-Royce AE 2100 D3 turboprop engines with Dowty R391 composite scimitar propellers, digital avionics, and reduced crew requirements. 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.