Germany, Sweden Join Future European Airlifter Initiative
Germany and Sweden have joined France to study the future development of a new-generation European airlifter that could replace types such as the Lockheed C-130 Hercules and CASA CN235.
According to a French Air Force press release, published June 30, the three countries signed an agreement to work on the definition of a Future Mid-Size Tactical Cargo (FMTC), which could lead to the development of a new European airlifter by 2040.
The document was signed at an event in Orleans, France, where the French Air and Space Force and the European Defense Agency held a seminar on the deployment of the European Union’s Strategic Compass in the air domain.
The French Defense Ministry says the signing of the two countries is the “first major step” for the FMTC project to “converge towards more precise common specifications.”
The FMTC is one of several airlift initiatives being studied under the European Union Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative to encourage more defense procurement cooperation between member states.
As well as the three partner nations, other countries could yet join the project, officials suggest.
French officials have previously suggested such an aircraft could incorporate many elements of the A400M, such as engines, to help reduce the platform’s development costs and benefit from a family approach to design.
Lift capacity of the future platform would be 18-20 metric tons of cargo, compared to around 35 metric tons carried by the A400M.
According to the French Air Force, future industrial feasibility studies could enable the launch of development for such an aircraft in 2026-2027.