France receives final KC-130J

The Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) has received its second of two Lockheed Martin KC-130J Super Hercules multi-role tanker/transport aircraft.

The aircraft – serial 5890 ‘61-PR’ (c/n 5890) – was delivered to air force representatives at Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics facility in Marietta, Georgia, on February 4.

In total, France has received four Super Hercules-family aircraft – a pair of C-130J-30 tactical transports and two KC-130J air-to-air refuelling aircraft. The C-130J-30s were delivered in 2017 and 2018 respectively, with the first KC-130J being handed over in September 2019.

French KC-130J [Lockheed Martin]
French Air Force KC-130J Super Hercules - serial 5890 ‘61-PR’ (c/n 5890) - taking off. Lockheed Martin

In Armée de l’Air service, the aircraft will augment the existing fleet of 14 Lockheed C-130H Hercules, based at Orléans, Bricy, under the 62e Escadre de Transport (62nd Transport Wing). The French C-130s will eventually be relocated to Évreux, Fauville.

Rod McLean, vice president and general manager of Air Mobility and Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin, said: “France’s C-130 crews have long demonstrated the unmatched and proven performance of the Hercules aircraft in support of critical missions”.

“This additional KC-130J expands the Armée de l’Air’s already robust airlift and [refuelling] resources to not only serve as a national asset, but a global resource as well”, he added.

France will operate its C-130J-30/KC-130J fleet in partnership with the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), which announced a similar plan to acquire a fleet of C-130J/KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft. This partnership marks the first operator relationship of its kind in the C-130J’s service history.