France Mulls More Hercs

The French air force is seeking to purchase four C-130J Super Hercules under a foreign military sales deal to fill a gap left by Airbus A400M delivery delays, reported Air & Cosmos. The French defense ministry requested funds this week to buy or lease the airlifters, according to IHS Jane’s, two of which would be equipped with refueling pods to support helicopters. The French air force also planes to possibly modify two of its legacy C-130Hs as armed special operations aircraft, Jane’s reported. The French air force has received six A400Ms thus far, according to manufacturer Airbus, and is already employing the type in support of operations in West Africa. French A400Ms were grounded except for “priority flights” directly supporting combat operations after the fatal crash of an A400M in Spain earlier this month, Bloomberg reported. Additional C-130s would relieve some of the strain on France’s elderly C-160 Transall fleet.