Germany and France want to set up a joint air transport unit, and 10 Lockheed C-130J Hercules transport aircraft -- four French and six German -- are to be stationed at the French air base at Évreux, in Normandie. The Bundeswehr expects to contribute around 200 soldiers for this purpose.
German-French working group
The Bundeswehr's deputy general inspector, Vice-Admiral Joachim Rühle, and his French colleague, Admiral Philippe Coindreau, took another step towards the German-French air transport squadron on October 18, 2017 in Berlin.
Details of future cooperation
They signed a basic agreement between Germany and France. The document provides further details of the future German-French cooperation in this project, and was signed at the meeting of the Franco-German Working Group on Military Cooperation.
By the year 2021, the squadron should be ready for initial operations (Initial Operational Capability, or IOC), and in 2024 they should have achieved full operational capability (FOC).
C-130J personnel are trained in Évreux
From 2021, the staff of the Franco-German C-130 J Hercules squadron will be trained in Évreux. In this way, the flight training of the crews and the technical instruction of the maintenance personnel on this new air transport aircraft will be shared. To this end, both nations are building a joint training center.
Although the A-400M is the future backbone of German military air transport, this cooperation is intended to close a limited gap in our air transport capability, which is due to be open after the current C-160 Transall transports are phased out in 2021.
In fact, the purpose of the German-French air transport agreement is to share the use (and the cost—Ed) of the common air transport capability.
Parliaments deal with 2018
By mid-2018, detailed planning for the German-French air transport squadron will have been completed. At that time, it will be submitted to the German Bundestag for approval. Subsequently, the signing of a government agreement is planned.