Thales and Rheinmetall have been awarded a contract to jointly support the certification phase of the ‘future training centre organisation’ for the Franco-German C-130J Hercules fleet.

The Franco-German C-130J transport aircraft project is one of the key airforce programmes in Europe.

The subcontract was awarded by Lockheed Martin to provide training services for the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor of the France / Germany Multinational Training Centre and manufacturer of the C-130J aircraft.

Financial details of the contract were not disclosed by the companies.

Set to be established at Évreux in Normandy, France, the new training centre will host the French and German C-130J Super Hercules aircraft as a joint transport squadron.

The companies noted that the accompanying training centre is to be certified by the French civil aviation authority (DGAC) as an Approved Training Organization (ATO).

The training centre qualification is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024, with the operational commencement also likely to happen in the same year.

In addition, an ‘optional operating phase’ may follow the ‘initial establishment and certification phase’.

Thales and Rheinmetall will provide all management staff, qualified flight and ground crew instructors towards the operation of all training devices if the operating phase is awarded.

Starting this year, Germany and France plan to jointly operate a total of ten C-130J Super Hercules aircraft in Évreux, Germany.

France has already taken delivery of a total of four Super Hercules, while Germany will contribute six aircraft to the squadron, with deliveries expected next year.

These Super Hercules jets will replace the German Transall C-160.

The C-130 air transport squadron is expected to reach its initial operational capability (IOC) on 1 September.