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According to a message from the Luftwaffe on Twitter, the C-130J SUPER HERCULES transport aircraft with the serial number 5930 (produced for Germany) has left the final assembly hangar. After painting in the “paintshop”, the final ground tests are due before the aircraft has to prove its functionality in its maiden flight.

Aircraft 5930 is the first of six C-130J transport aircraft that the Bundeswehr ordered from Lockheed Martin via Foreign Military Sales in 2018. The aircraft are to be deployed together with four aircraft of the same type from the French Armée de l’Air & de l’Espace base in Évreux, France. The German and French air forces are currently setting up a joint unit there for operations and training. Initial personnel have already entered service and France has begun to move the four aircraft already delivered to Evreux.

Of the ten aircraft, half are tankers, designated KC-130J. The aircraft are intended to fill the capability gap for tactical transport tasks from short runways, for which A400M transport aircraft are only partially suitable.

The first German C-130J is to be delivered to the Bundeswehr by the beginning of 2022 at the latest and transferred to Evreux. All six German C-130Js are to be taken over by the troops by the end of 2023, with the Franco-German plan envisaging full operational capability being achieved in 2024.

Gerhard Heiming