France inducts first C-130J airlifters


The first of four Lockheed Martin C-130J turboprop aircraft ordered by France has been delivered to French Air Force on Friday, 22 December.

The first aircraft, a C-130J-30, arrived at the OrlĂ©ans – Bricy Air Base, which is home to the French Air Force tactical air fleet.

The four aircraft Foreign Military Sale contract signed with United States in early 2016, include two C-130J tactical airlifters and two KC-130J tanker aircraft.

A second C-130J-30 will be delivered in 2018, while the KC-130J intended to refuel helicopters will be delivered in 2019.

The C-130J-30 will complement the mid-segment of Air Force tactical transport fleet currently comprised of the C-160 Transal and older C-130H Hercules transports.

These aircraft are in fact particularly stressed and tested by the various external operations whose environmental conditions put the equipment under severe strain.

The acquisition contract awarded by the DGA also includes the support system, the training of the personnel and the maintenance in initial operational condition for a duration of 2 years.

French Air Force's newly acquired Airbus A400M’s inability to provide air-to-air refuelling support to French H225M Caracal medium lift helicopters prompted Air Force to order the two Lockheed Martin KC-130J tankers.

Since then Airbus has been testing an extended length hose and drogue design, which enable a safe distance from the H225M main rotor tip and A400M's T-tail while aerial refueling.