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US approves the sale of components for C-130 military transport aircraft of France

According to a contract released by the U.S. DoD (Department of Defense on September 2, 2020, the U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of France of four (4) AE-2100D Turbo Prop engines and two (2) Multifunctional, Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminal Block Upgrade Two (MIDS-LVT BU2) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $350 million.

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US approves the sale of components for C 130 military transport aircraft of France 925 01 French Air Force C-130H-30 military transport aircraft. (Picture source Lockheed Martin)

The Government of France has requested to buy four (4) AE-2100D Turbo Prop engines and two (2) Multifunctional, Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminal Block Upgrade Two (MIDS-LVT BU2). Also included are AN/ARC-210 radios; AN/ARC-164 radios; L-3 CSW Multiband Receiver/Transmitters; AN/ARN-153 Navigation Systems; AN/ARN-147 Receivers; AN/APN-241 Radar Receiver Transmitter Processor; ARC-190 High Frequency Receivers; AAR-60 Missile Launch Warning Systems; MTS-A Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system; AN/APX-119 Identification Friend or Foe Systems; Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS); encryption devices; spare and repair parts; software delivery and support; publications and technical documentation; U.S. Government and contractor engineering; technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated total cost is $350 million.£

The proposed sale will improve France’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing the necessary sustainment, services, and spare parts to support the co-managed fleet of French and German C-130 aircraft. France will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and/or services into its armed forces.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of U.S. contractor representative to France for a duration of three years to provide technical assistance and support to include field services, engineering tech support and integrated logistics support management.

Currently, the French Air Force has a total of 14 C-130 military transport aircraft including 7 C-130H and 7 C-130H-30. The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas. It can accommodate a wide variety of oversized cargo, including everything from utility helicopters and six-wheeled armored vehicles to standard palletized cargo and military personnel. In an aerial delivery role, it can airdrop loads up to 19,000 kg or use its high-flotation landing gear to land and deliver cargo on rough, dirt strips.

The C-130H is powered by Four Allison T56-A-15 turboprops engines. The C-130H-30  is a stretched version of the original Hercules, achieved by inserting a 100 in (2.54 m) plug aft of the cockpit and an 80 in (2.03 m) plug at the rear of the fuselage.