Binational Air Transport Squadron Rhin/Rhein in Évreux
Ten aircraft, two nations, one unit: there has never been anything like this in Europe. The new squadron started its service on 9 March 2022.
The mission of the binational squadron focuses on:
- joint air transport across the entire logistical and tactical spectrum
- support for special forces operations
- mutual support in the event of a crisis and in the conduct of national missions
The German-French Air Transport Squadron carries out tactical air transport missions at airfields or unpaved landing zones with greatly reduced infrastructure. It thus closes the capability gap in tactical air transport identified by a 2016 study report that had analyzed the impacts resulting from the decommissioning of the C-160 Transall in 2021. Nevertheless, the Super Hercules is not a direct successor to the C-160 Transall. The binational Air Transport Squadron Rhein/Rhin is tasked with carrying out missions within the framework of national crisis management to protect German nationals abroad and support special operations.
It is also able to refuel other aircraft, including helicopters, in the air with the KC-130J aircraft of its fleet. Global tactical air transport is coordinated by the European Air Transport Command.
Ten aircraft, two nations, one team: there has never been anything like this in Europe. On 9 March 2022, the first German-French Air Transport Squadron officially started its service in Évreux in Normandy. At present, its fleet comprises four French C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, two of them in the tanker version, and one German C-130J. By 2024, the fleet will be complete with an additional five German aircraft. The unit will then include a total of around 300 soldiers from both nations.
What is special about this unit is the level of integration: for the very first time, French and German pilots, mechanics, avionics specialists and technical loadmasters live, train and work together in the same place. Binational crews fly the missions and binational teams maintain the French and German aircraft on the ground.
The new binational squadron is a milestone for further cooperation between the German Air Force and the French Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace. Here, both sides benefit from each other’s existing experience. In order to realize this unique level of cooperation, uniform basic documents were prepared, for example for joint flight and maintenance operations. These can be used as a blueprint for further cooperation in Europe.
Base Aérienne 105 Évreux-Fauville (BA 105Base aérienne 105 Évreux-Fauville) is a military airfield of the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace). The airfield is located in the Eure department in Normandy on the territory of three municipalities – Fauville, Gauciel and Huest – about five kilometers east of the town of Évreux.
BA 105Base aérienne 105 Évreux-Fauville was named after Major (Commandant) Jules Louis Viot, a French pilot who was killed during an aerial engagement in French Indochina in 1947.
The air base is home to several different wings and squadrons:
- 64e escadre de transport
- L'escadre aérienne de commandement et de conduite projetable
- Le groupe aérien mixte 56 „Vaucluse“
- La 62e escadre „Franche-Comté“
- Escadron électronique aéroporté 1/54 „Dunkerque“
In future, the fleet of the German-French Air Transport Squadron will consist of ten Lockheed Martin Super Hercules aircraft:
- 5 C-130J-30 aircraft
- 5 KC-130J aircraft (tanker version)
France provides two C-130J-30 and two KC-130J aircraft.
Germany provides three C-130J-30 and three KC-130J aircraft.
The C-130J-30 is the stretched-body version of the C-130J. The KC-130J aircraft are intended for air-to-air refueling, in particular for the refueling of helicopters.
The four French aircraft were delivered between January 2018 and February 2020 and were based at Orléans-Bricy until the squadron was established.
The first German Super Hercules was handed over on 19 February 2022. Two more will follow in 2022. By the end of 2024, the fleet will be complete with a total of ten aircraft.
The aircraft with the serial number 5930 and the military tail number 55+01 is the first Super Hercules of the German Air Force. It is one of six aircraft that Lockheed Martin is building for the Bundeswehr in Marietta, Georgia. Three of them will be delivered as KC-130J tanker aircraft. The other three, like this first one here, are transport aircraft in the C-130J-30 version, which is almost five meters longer.
The First German Super Hercules
Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace
Lieutenant Colonel Franck
Lieutenant Colonel Franck has been the Squadron Commander of the German-French C-130J Air Transport Squadron in Évreux since April 2021.
Lieutenant Colonel Franck was born in Corbeil-Essonnes in 1982. He is married and has two children.
Lieutenant Colonel Maik Drescher
Lieutenant Colonel Drescher has been the Deputy Squadron Commander of the German-French C-130J Air Transport Squadron in Évreux since April 2021. He also leads the German squadron component.
Maik Drescher is from Halle an der Saale. He is married and has two children.
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Press information officer
First Lieutenant Birte Chilcott