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US approves $1.4 billion sale to Germany of 6 C-130, KC-130 aircraft for joint squadron in France

The U.S. State Department approved the $1.4 billion sale to Germany of three C-130 Super Hercules transport aircraft and three KC-130 tanker aircraft for a joint squadron based in France, a Defense Security Cooperation Agency release said.

“The proposed sale will increase the airlift, air refueling, and air drop capabilities of the German Air Force,” the Friday, May 4 release said. “Providing these capabilities to the German Air Force will greatly increase interoperability between the U.S. Air Force and the German Air Force as well as other NATO allies.”

The Luftwaffe plans to use the six aircraft as part of a joint French-German allied squadron based in Evreux, France.

“This common air transport squadron will have unrestricted exchange of aircraft, air crews, and maintainers, as well as technical and logistical support based on a common pool of spare parts and a common service support contract,” the release said, adding that the exchanges would be carried out under to separate U.S. authorizations.

KC-130J refuels FA-18 Hornet
An F/A-18D Hornet and a KC-130J Hercules conduct simulated aerial refueling at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, May 5, 2017. Image: US Marine Corps/Cpl. Aaron Henson

DSCA said the tanker aircraft will provide crucial air refueling capability to both countries’ fighter, light transport aircraft, and helicopters, and that Germany “requests these capabilities to provide for the support of its deployed troops, regional security, and interoperability with France and the United States.”

The proposed sale includes three C-130J-30 Super Hercules and three KC-130J extended range tanker aircraft each with four Rolls Royce AE-2100D turboprop engines installed, and a total of four spare engines.

Also included are eight AN/ALE 47 Electronic Countermeasure Dispensers, eight AN/AAR-47A(V)2 Missile Warning Systems, eight AN/ALR-56M Radar Warning Receivers, eight MX-20 Electro-Optical/Infrared Imaging Systems, as well as Identification Friend or Foe, Joint Mission Planning System, secure communications, navigation and cryptographic equipment, as well as night vision devices.

Support and test equipment, training and training equipment, engineering as well as technical, logistics and other support is also included.

The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin.

US Air Force C-130J Super Hercules
A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron flies over Suruga Bay, Japan, March 26, 2018. Image: US Air Force/Yasuo Osakabe
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