WASHINGTON --- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to France for C-130J aircraft and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $650 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
The Government of France has requested a possible sale of:
Major Defense Equipment (MDE):
Two (2) C-130J aircraft with Rolls Royce AE-2100D Turboprop Engines
Two (2) KC-130J aircraft with Rolls Royce AE-2100D Turboprop Engines
Four (4) Rolls Royce AE-2100D Turboprop Engines (spares)
Non-Major Defense Equipment (Non-MDE):
Six (6) AN/ALE 47 Electronic Countermeasure Dispensers (1 per aircraft, plus 2 spares)
Six (6) AN/AAR-47A(V)2 Missile Warning Systems (1 per aircraft, plus 2 spares)
Six (6) AN/ALR-56M Radar Warning Receivers (1 per aircraft, plus 2 spares)
Ten (10) Embedded Global Positioning/Inertial Navigation Systems (2 per aircraft, plus 2 spares)
Ten (10) AN/ARC-210 Radios (2 per aircraft, plus 2 spares)
Ten (10) AN/ARC-164 UHF/VF Radios (2 per aircraft, plus 2 spares)
Two (2) HF Voice Radios
Ten (10) KY-100 Secure Voice Terminals (2 per aircraft, plus 2 spares)
Ten (10) KYV-5 Secure Voice Equipment Units (2 per aircraft, plus 2 spares)
Also provided are support and test equipment; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated MDE value is $355 million. The total overall estimated value is $650 million.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the capability of a NATO ally. It is vital to U.S. national interests to assist the French Air Force to increase its airlift, air refueling, and air drop capabilities.
These aircraft will provide these capabilities and will be used to support national, NATO, United Nations, and other coalition operations. Providing these aircraft to the French Air Force will greatly increase interoperability between the U.S. Air Force and the French Air Force, as well as other NATO allies.
The C-130Js will provide critical transport, airdrop, and resupply to thousands of French troops in support of current and future operations. The KC-130Js will provide crucial air refueling capability to France's fighter aircraft, light transport aircraft, and helicopters. France will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.
The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
France requests that Lockheed Martin be the sole source provider for the C-130J aircraft. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale may require multiple trips for U.S. contractor representatives to France and potentially to deployed locations to provide initial launch, recovery, and maintenance support.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: France needs to buy four additional C-130s to support its special operations forces, since its new Airbus A400M airlifters cannot refuel helicopters in flight nor drop paratroopers through their side doors.
The defense ministry has budgeted €330 million (today worth $354.5 million) for this acquisition, but did not know what price the US would ask.
To show that it is mindful of French budgetary realities, DISA in the above announcement broke down costs into MDE and Non-MDE parts, so the $355 million cost of the aircraft (MDE) is in line with the amount budgeted by France.
This, by the way, is the first time DISA separates cost categories for a prospective sale.
It remains to be seen, however, if France will accept paying $650 million for four aircraft ($162 million each), or whether it will instead buy mission equipment and retrofit it to second-hand airframes it can obtain more cheaply on the open market.)