Feb. 7 (UPI) — Lockheed Martin delivered the second of two KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refuelers to representatives from France’s Armée de l’Air this week, the company reported.
According to Lockheed, France has received a total of four Super Hercules planes through the Pentagon’s foreign military sales program.
In addition to the two KC-130J refuelers, the country purchased two C-130J-30 combat delivery airlifters under the sale. Those were delivered in 2017 and 2018 and brought into service in 2018 for use in airlift and refueling activities in the sub-Saharan Sahel region.
Lockheed delivered the first KC-130J it sold under the deal in September 2019.
All four of the Super Hercules aircraft are operated in conjuction with France’s existing C-130H fleet.
“France’s C-130 crews have long demonstrated the unmatched and proven performance of the Hercules aircraft in support of critical missions,” said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager of air mobility and maritime missions at Lockheed Martin. “This additional KC-130J expands the Armée de l’Air’s already robust airlift and refueling resources to not only serve as a national asset, but a global resource as well.”
The C-130J Super Hercules series describes a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft, used for a wide variety of applications, including transport of troops and cargo as well as medical evacuation. It’s also used for airborne assault, search and rescue, weather reconnaissance, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting.
The KC-130J variant can refuel both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft, and conduct rapid ground refueling.
Seventeen nations — including Australia, Canada, Israel, Iraq and South Korea — have Super Hercules variants in their fleets.
Three U.S. firefighters who were killed in a January crash fighting Australian wildfires were flying a C-130 air tanker. The cause of the accident has not yet been determined.
In 2018, Germany announced the acquisition of a C-130J-30/KC-130J fleet, to be operated in partnership with France — the first operator relationship of this type in C-130J history, according to Lockheed.
In October, Lockheed won a $12.4 million contract for support of France’s Super Hercules aircraft.