Lockheed Martin delivered the first of two KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refuelers to representatives from French Air Force (Armée de l’Air)’s 62st Transport Wing at Orléans-Bricy Air Base on Sept. 19.
France will receive a total of four Super Hercules aircraft – two C-130J-30 tactical airlifters and two KC-130J aerial refuelers – through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal with the U.S. government.
The two C-130J-30 airlifters were delivered in 2017 and 2018, and the second KC-130J will be delivered in 2020. All of these Super Hercules are to be operated in conjunction with France’s existing C-130H fleet, first of which was acquired in 1987.
“The KC-130J provides Armée de l’Air crews with a proven solution that delivers much-needed fuel in any environment, at any time,” said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. “In choosing to operate both the C-130J-30 and the KC-130J, France has built a diverse airlift fleet that expands both the capabilities and global reach of the French Armed Forces.”
France is the 17th country to choose the C-130J for its airlift needs. The C-130J Super Hercules is one of the most advanced tactical airlifter in operation today, offering superior performance and enhanced capabilities with the range and versatility for every theater of operations and evolving requirements.
As the preeminent tactical aerial refueling tanker, the KC-130J is a battle-tested solution that takes full advantage of the tremendous technological and performance improvements inherent in the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. A true force multiplier, the KC-130J refuels both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft as well as conducts rapid ground refueling.
With this delivery, France joins a global community of KC-130J operators. In 2018, Germany announced the acquisition of a C-130J-30/KC-130J fleet, to be operated in partnership with France — making this first such operator relationship in C-130J history.