German-French air transport cooperation

[Originally announced on Oct 19, 2017, on the website of the German Federal Ministry of Defence - Unofficial translation from the original announcement in German].

Germany and France are to set up a joint air transport unit. As part of this venture, ten air transport aircraft of the C-130J Hercules type, four of which will be French and six German, are to be stationed at Normandy, in the French airborne base of Évreux. The Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) are expected to provide around 200 soldiers to support this venture.

The deputy general inspector of the Bundeswehr, Vice Admiral Joachim Rühle, and his French colleague, Admiral Philippe Coindreau, took another step towards the establishment of the joint German-French air transport unit, on October 18, 2017, in Berlin.

They signed a basic agreement document between the 2 countries. This agreement provides further details of the future German-French cooperation, as part of this venture. The agreement was signed at the meeting of the Franco-German Working Group on Military Cooperation.

By the year 2021, the joint unit should be ready for initial operations (Initial Operational Capability, or IOC), and by 2024 it should have achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC). From 2021 onwards, the staff of the joint Franco-German C-130J Hercules unit will be trained in Évreux. In this manner, the flight training of the crews and the technical instruction of the maintenance personnel on this new air transport type will be shared. To this end, the 2 nations are establishing a joint training centre.

Although the A-400M aircraft is to constitute the future backbone of the German military air transport capability, this cooperation is intended to close the temporary German air transport capability gap, which will be created after the C-160 Transall aircraft are phased out in 2021.

More specifically, the purpose of the joint German-French air transport unit, is the sharing of the resources and costs of this common air transport capability.

By mid-2018, the establishment of the German-French air transport unit will be planned in detail. Then the approval of the German Bundestag (National Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany) will be requested. Subsequently, the signing of an agreement at the governmental level is planned.

View source version on German Federal Ministry of Defence :