On 15 January 2018, Lockheed Martin delivered the first C 130J aircraft to the Armée de l'air, the French Air Force. Germany and France will be running ten planes of this type as a joint endeavour based in Évreux, France, as of 2021. Both the flying teams and the ground crews will have members from both nations.
The six German aircraft are to be delivered starting in 2021, at the same time as the Transall fleet is decommissioned. This week’s handover in Orleans was attended by Lieutenant General Erhard Bühler, Director-General for Planning at the Federal Ministry of Defence, and Air Marshal Karl Müllner, Chief of the German Air Force.
“I am glad to see the first foundations of our new Franco-German joint [Super Hercules] force being put in place,” said Lieutenant General Erhard Bühler. “This first plane, though it bears only the French insignia for now, is the start of that. The only way European countries can tackle the challenges facing us is by working together. France and Germany, shoulder to shoulder – that’s the future we need.” Bühler and his team are responsible for planning the new joint force.
The Chief of the Air Force was also satisfied. “I’m pleased that we are taking the first step towards setting up a joint force. The C 130J will fill the gap left when the aging Transall aircraft is decommissioned,” Air Marshal Karl Müllner explained.
The six German aircraft planned are intended to include three aircraft of the KC 130J tanker model.