The US State Department has approved the sale of six Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules to Germany.
A US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announcement states that three of the aircraft will be long fuselage C-130J-30 models, and three will be delivered in the KC-130J tanker transport configuration.
The sale is valued at US$1.4bn (A$1.86bn) and includes a comprehensive equipment, spares and training package including four spare Rolls-Royce AE2100D engines, datalinks, AAR-47A(V)2 missile approach warning systems (MAWS), ALR-56M radar warning receivers (RWR), MX-20 EO/IR systems, and Mode 5 IFF equipment.
The equipment list suggests the aircraft will be employed in high threat environments in support of special forces.
The DSCA announcement says the German aircraft will be co-located with a French C-130J unit at Evreux in France, and will be operated as a common air transport squadrons with an unrestricted exchange of aircraft, air crews, and maintainers, as well as technical and logistical support based on a common pool of spare parts and a common service support contract.
The sale is reportedly in response to ongoing delays with the multi-national Airbus A400M transport program, and mirrors France’s decision to also acquire C-130Js to replace ageing Transal C-160s in service.