The governments of France, Germany and Sweden signed an agreement to launch the Future Mid-Size Tactical Cargo (FMTC) program that is poised to deliver a next-generation airlifter.
Signed on June 23 and announced on June 30, the program will oversee the development of a new platform that will replace the C-130 Hercules and Casa CN-235 airframes in the three countries’ fleets by 2040.
Supported by the European Defense Agency as part of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) framework, this agreement will allow the definition of the aircraft intended to operate in addition to the A400M fleet from 2040.
PESCO describes the FMTC as a project designed to increase the air mobility capabilities of the armed forces of EU member states. The project seeks to complement the missions of the A400M, including on narrow and short unprepared strips, “to face collectively and efficiently the upcoming transport challenges in military operations or crisis response situations.”
France is serving as the project coordinator.
According to the French Air and Space Force, which hosted the European Wings event during which the FMTC agreement was signed, other countries could soon join it.
The air force further said that the signature from late June marked a first major step for the FMTC project to converge towards more precise common specifications.
Subsequent industrial feasibility studies could lead to the launch of the development of this new aircraft around 2026 or 2027.