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French and German C-130J® SUPER HERCULES aircrews and maintainers will train in a facility located in France, built and equipped by Lockheed Martin for the binational C-130J SUPER HERCULES Squadron the two nations are establishing. Lockheed Martin will provide training devices, the learning management system, courseware and options for five years of training services under the terms of a new Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) contract, allowing for in-country learning.

Lockheed Martin will break ground on the training centre in 2021 and aircrew and maintainers will begin training in the centre in 2024. The facility will be located in Évreux-Fauville Air Base in the Normandy region of France and will provide training for both C-130J-30 air-lifter and KC-130J tanker aircraft. This is a first-of-its-kind partnership in the 65 years of HERCULES history where the countries share the aircraft, which are used for aerial refuelling, air drop and cargo missions.

The French and German binational squadron consists of a combined 10 SUPER HERCULES aircraft. In 2018, Germany announced the acquisition of six examples (three C-130J-30s and three KC-130J fleets) to be operated in partnership with France. The latter has received a total of four SUPER HERCULES aircraft through a Foreign Military Sale with the US government. The French C-130Js are operated in conjunction with the country’s existing C-130H fleet.

Versatile C-130J

Lockheed Martin is the leading global provider of C-130J training and has experience creating “turn-key” training facilities for the aircraft. Lockheed Martin’s own HERCULES Training Centre (HTC) is located in Marietta, Georgia, adjacent to the aircraft’s production line. The HTC is a combined academic and simulator facility purpose-built for training efficiency on the C-130J fleet. The HTC trains C-130J crews as needed and will be used to train the initial instructor cadre of pilots and maintainers for France and Germany during the construction of the new facility.

The C-130J SUPER HERCULES is the current production model of the legendary C-130 HERCULES mid-size tactical air-lifter, offering superior performance and enhanced capabilities with the range and versatility for every theatre of operations and evolving requirements. To date, the SUPER HERCULES fleet counts 24 operators in 21 nations around the world and has surpassed 2 million flight hours.

As the preeminent tactical aerial refuelling 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 and rotary wing aircraft as well as conducts rapid ground refueling.

Jack Richardson