On Tuesday April 28, Transport Squadron 02.061 "Franche-Comté" stationed on Air Base 123 at Orleans-Bricy carried out for the first time a tactical training mission involving three C130J transport aircraft in an environment simulating a complex theater of operations.
Taking off a few seconds apart, a C-130J-30 and two KC-130Js carried out, after low-level navigation, a simulated parachute drop in the Le Mans region, before carrying out an assault landing in formation at Air Base 105 in Évreux. This maneuver consists in landing the aircraft about twenty seconds apart in order to reduce their time on the runway, in order to minimize their vulnerability on the ground. The return to BA 123 was also made in low-level flight mode.
"This dense tactical mission lasting approximately two hours allowed me to be the first French pilot to obtain the "package leader" qualification on the C-130J, which is required to take responsibility for a formation of three transport aircraft," says Lt. Col. Franck, commander of the squadron that operates both the C-130J and the C-130H. "Carried out for the first time by a formation entirely made up of French C-130J aircraft, it involved three of the four Super Hercules aircraft of the French Air Force."
The latest addition to the Air Force’s fleet of transport aircraft, the C-130J provides the forces with intermediate tactical mobility capability. Operating both in mainland France and on foreign operations, this new fleet of aircraft continues to work up at Air Base 123. The KC-130J version will also shortly allow in-flight refueling of helicopters and fighters.