The French Air Force’s first C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft has conducted its maiden short-term logistic mission to transport personnel and equipment outside metropolitan France.
Carried out in support of Operation Barkhane in sub-Saharan Africa, the mission helps ensure the transport of freight and passengers as part of a ‘synthesis’ experiment.
The experimental flight test was conducted jointly by the Military Air Expertise Center (CEAM), Transport Squadron 2/61, and the C-130 Aeronautical Technical Support Squadron (ESTA).
The mission has been designed to allow for the validation of an initial logistic capability and the implementation of the aircraft in real logistic missions, which also includes the technical preparation of the aircraft and its possible maintenance.
It is also intended to provide personnel training within the US Air Force (USAF) to the pilots and mechanics in charge of the C-130J aircraft.
Carried out in the Sub-Saharan Strip, all stages of the mission ensured that the military transport jet was close to its maximum load of 18.7t.
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Based on the analysis of the results of the current trial, the C-130J Super Hercules would be able to support external operations as quickly as possible through logistical rotations. This will lead to the beginning of tactical trials on the aircraft.
In 2015, the French Air Force acquired four C-130J aircraft, the first of which was delivered on 22 December.
The C-130Js will help bolster, in the short-term, the ‘medium-lift’ military airlift capability of the airforce, which is also provided by the C-160 and C-130H aircraft.
Developed by Lockheed Martin, the C-130J Super Hercules is an advanced tactical airlifter that is deployed to carry out combat, humanitarian, special operations, aerial refuelling, firefighting, and search-and-rescue missions across the globe.