The US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) has delivered C-130 aircraft to a joint French and German squadron at Évreux-Fauville Air Base, France.

The joint squadron received two C-130J Super Hercules and the first of two KC-130J aircraft.

The programme includes the delivery of a total of seven aircraft by 2026.

According to the US Air Force (USAF), the C-130 aircraft fleet will cost around $1.6bn. Sustainment of the fleet is estimated to cost an additional $1bn over the next seven years.

In 2017, France and Germany approached AFLCMC to procure two C-130 models for Germany to enable the creation of the joint squadron. At the time, the French C-130 aircraft were already in production.

AFLCMC Mobility and Training Aircraft Directorate C-130 FMS Branch chief Brock Thomas said: “It was a new concept for us. We had never done anything like that [sell aircraft for joint foreign partnership], but we saw it as an opportunity.”

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The AFLCMC then worked with relevant stakeholders to complete the aircraft and sustainment support sale.

The plan involved the sale of aircraft to Germany and France separately. The programme also involved a plan to negotiate directly with the French military for fleet sustainment.

Directorate International Acquisition Programs Division deputy chief David Collins said: “Until we were able to come up with the right mechanism to mutually operate, train and maintain the squadron, France and Germany would not have been able to jointly operate the C-130s.”

The joint squadron creates a mechanism wherein a French pilot and a German loadmaster can work with the same aircraft.

In May last year, the US cleared a sale of three C-130J-30 and three KC-130J aircraft to Germany.