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C-130 News: France to purchase C-130


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French Ministry of Defence, will place orders for American C-130J according to French internet page Air&Cosmos.

Airbus is behind delivery schedule but this does not seem to be main problem. A400M aircraft lacks in-flight refuelling capability for helicopters. The director of Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), “General Directorate for Armament Laurent Collet-Billon stated that the turmoil of the propellers of the A400M, is too dangerous to refuel helicopters.

A team from the DGA is currently in the United States to negotiate the acquisition of C-130J Lockheed Martin that may reach several hundred million USD.

In 2014, when delivery of non-compliant A400Ms was refused by Turkey for several months the CEO of Airbus Tom Enders had said, “The aircraft is ready to go. It’s the same aircraft that we delivered to the French Air Force that has been instantly operational and fit for flight. I find the situation increasingly unacceptable,”

View original article: http://www.c4defence.com/en/france-to-purchase-c-130/

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  • 4 months later...

I'll bet this decision is creating an uproar in the French aviation community.

A400s' just became cheaper to buy.

France has no intention of buying the C-130J.

France Denies Plan To Buy C-130Js To Fill A400M Helo Refueling Gap

— A capability shortfall in

the Airbus A400M tactical airlifter has left France facing the

potential inability to refuel military helicopters, a requirement

that French defense procurement agency DGA says

the aircraft may never fulfill.

However, the DGA said April 3 it is continuing to work

with A400M prime contractor Airbus Defense and Space to

find a solution to the capability gap, and it has no plans to

purchase Lockheed Martin C-130Js from the U.S.

“Our priority is to get the full capacity of the A400M,”

the DGA said, adding that it “denies that it is trying to buy

American C-130J aircraft to fill the gap” as reported in an

April 2 article in French aerospace journal Air & Cosmos

that claimed the DGA planned to buy five of the airlifters.

According to the DGA, the Airbus-built A400M turboprop

engines create excessive turbulence when refueling French

helicopters. A June 2013 test involving Airbus EC725 Caracal

helicopters was successful only after extending the A400M’s

refueling cable, a solution the DGA found unacceptable.

“The refueling capacity is one of the specifications of

the A400M,” Airbus said in an April 3 statement. “Noth


today allows us to announce that the customer has

given up on this capacity. Nothing seems to justify the

purchase of numbers of tactical American aircraft for this

reason only.”

Despite the denials, the refueling problem remains. If

the A400M is unable to provide helicopter refueling for the

French armed forces, the DGA will seek compensation from

its prime contractor. And a solution must be found quickly,

as the French cannot continue to rely on aging C-160 Transall

aircraft, given current operational commitments, which

include Operation Chammal in Iraq and multiple missions in

the Central African Republic and the Sahel.

In the meantime, while France has already received six

A400M airlifters — and expects four more this year —

Airbus has yet to issue a revised delivery schedule since

announcing earlier this year that the program is experiencing

production delays.

In February, Airbus CEO Tom Enders said he had set a

goal of doubling delivery of the aircraft in 2015. But with

only eight aircraft furnished in 2014 to four of seven program

partner nations, the target of 16 aircraft delivered

in 2015 still falls well short of an earlier target of 22 expected

this year by France, Germany and the U.K., as well

as the airlifter’s first and only export customer, Malaysia.

—Caroline Bruneau

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