The intense final French Transall deployment to assist Ukraine

The final French Air and Space Force Transall C-160G Gabriel capped off a 33-year flying career with an intense three-month deployment. Babak Taghvaee details the type’s last months

At the beginning of 2022, the Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace (AAE; French Air and Space Force) was anticipating retiring its final two Transall C-160G Gabriels on May 20. However, any chance of a gradual drawdown of this type was quickly abandoned following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of February 24. By this time, the Gabriel force was down to a single aircraft as F221 had been retired and stored at Châteaudun Air Base at the end of January.

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Both C-160Gs in formation during a training flight
French Air and Space Force

As NATO member states worked quickly to protect the military alliance’s eastern flank, France’s sole C-160G, F216, was deployed to Bucharest in Romania, where it would log more than 206 flying hours across 44 sorties between early March and the end of May. 

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