The French Ministry of Defence has decided to award a contract to Service Industriel de l'Aéronautique (SIAé), the state-owned aviation workshops group, to provide maintenance services for the French Air Force's C130 transport aircraft.
A tender process is underway for the aircraft's renovation. The SIAé will carry out the modernisation works, in partnership with the winning company.
Under the terms of the contract, SIAé will also perform the same maintenance checks that are currently carried out abroad the aircraft from mid-2018.
This contract, which will be handled by a single operator, aims to deliver all support functions of the aircraft for enhancing their availability.
Additionally, a partnership agreement has been signed by SIAé with French aerospace engine maker Snecma, a unit of Safran, to undertake part of the maintenance and support of the Rafale's M88 engines.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has authorised to recruit 160 specialist workers in 2016 to support the development plans.
The French Air Force's Rafal fighter jets are currently launching air strikes from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle against Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq.
Rafale is a twin-jet combat aircraft capable of performing a range of short and long-range missions, including ground and sea attacks, reconnaissance, high-accuracy strikes and nuclear strike deterrence.