Hercules Training Takes Off for France & Germany
French and German C-130J® Super Hercules aircrews and maintainers will train in a brand-new shared facility, built and equipped by Lockheed Martin. The training center will support the countries’ binational C-130J Super Hercules Squadron, consisting of ten Hercs.
Lockheed Martin will provide training devices, the learning management system, courseware and options for five years of training services under the terms of a new direct commercial sale (DCS) contract, allowing for in-country learning.
Located on Évreux-Fauville Air Base in the Normandy region of France, the training center will provide training for both C-130J-30 airlifter and KC-130J tanker aircraft under a first-of-its-kind partnership in the entire scope of 65 years of Hercules history. The countries will share the training center and aircraft, which are used for aerial refueling, air drop and cargo missions.
Lockheed Martin will break ground on the training center in 2021 and aircrew and maintainers will begin training in the center in 2024.
“The French/German C-130J Binational Training Center will allow both countries to train pilots and maintainers on the full capability of these proven aircraft,” said Tom Gordon, Lockheed Martin, vice president of Training and Simulation Solutions. “Lockheed Martin is honored to support this historic partnership and proud to work directly with our customers in establishing a first-of-its kind resource that will benefit Super Hercules crew members for decades to come.”
The French and German binational squadron consists of a combined 10 Super Hercules, allowing both countries unrestricted access and exchange of fleet resources including support, aircraft and crews.
In 2018, Germany announced the acquisition of six Super Hercules aircraft (three C-130J-30s and three KC-130J fleets) to be operated in partnership with France. France has received a total of four Super Hercules aircraft through a Foreign Military Sale with the U.S. government. France’s Super Hercules are operated in conjunction with its existing C-130H fleet.
Left: The Hercules Training Center, located in Marietta Georgia. Right: The HTC’s re-configurable, FAA-certified Level D simulator.
Lockheed Martin is the leading global provider of C-130J training and has experience creating “turn-key” training facilities for the aircraft. Lockheed Martin’s own Hercules Training Center (HTC) is located in Marietta, Georgia, adjacent to the Super Hercules production line. The HTC opened in June 2019 to meet the global demand for military C-130J and commercial LM-100J training. The center is a single source “turn-key” training facility designed for all military and commercial training needs for the next generation of pilots, crews, maintainers and mission support personnel.
The HTC trains C-130J crews from around the world and will be used to train France and Germany’s initial instructor cadre of pilots and maintainers during the construction of the new facility. The HTC is complete with classrooms and a re-configurable, FAA-certified Level D simulator. The new binational French and German training center will have similar capability.
The CH-53K completing an air-to-air refueling (AAR) test with a KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refueling tanker.
Super Herculean Strength
The C-130J Super Hercules is the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules mid-size tactical airlifter, offering superior performance and enhanced capabilities with the range and versatility for every theater of operations and evolving requirements. To date, the Super Hercules fleet counts 24 operators in 21 nations around the world and has surpassed 2 million flight hours.
As the preeminent tactical aerial refueling tanker, the KC-130J is a battle-tested solution that takes full advantage of the tremendous technological and performance improvements inherent in the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. A true force multiplier, the KC-130J refuels both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft as well as conducts rapid ground refueling.