Lockheed Martin has awarded Thales and Rheinmetall a contract to certify the future training center organization for the Franco-German C-130J transport aircraft fleet.
The two companies are participating in the project as subcontractors (50/50) to Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor of the multinational training center and manufacturer of the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft.
Awarded in March 2021, the contract will see Rheinmetall and Thales provide personnel and services related to the certification of the training center organization. The qualification is to be completed in 2024, with training operation set to start that same year.
Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin contracted CAE to support the design and development of a suite of C-130J training devices for the training center.
The initial establishment and certification phase may be followed by an optional operating phase. If the operating phase is awarded, Thales and Rheinmetall will provide all management personnel, qualified flight and ground crew instructors as well as maintenance personnel for the operation of all training devices.
The training center is to be established at Évreux in Normandy, home to the French Air Force’s 62nd Transport Squadron, and will host the new French and German C-130J Super Hercules aircraft as a joint transport squadron.
The Franco-German transport aircraft project is one of Europe’s key air force programs. In Évreux, Germany and France intend to jointly operate a total of 10 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft starting this year.
The plan calls for joint cockpit crews as well as mixed teams on the ground. France has already taken delivery of a total of four Super Hercules, whereas Germany will contribute six aircraft to the squadron, with deliveries starting in 2022. These six aircraft will replace the German Transall C-160.