May 21, 2015
France Boosts Defence Spending to Buy C-130J, NH90, Tiger Helicopters and A330 MRTT
Of that €1.5 billion, an estimated €330 million has been set aside for a planned acquisition of four Hercules C-130 transport planes, of which two would be armed with the Griffin missile and two would be equipped for inflight refueling of helicopters.
The French Air Force and special forces are keen to acquire the US aircraft, needed to plug a gap left by the late delivery of the Airbus A400M transport. The cargo planes are particularly needed to support troops in the sub-Saharan, or Sahel, campaign against Islamic insurgents.
Procurement officials will order a further seven Tiger attack helicopters, lifting the order to Airbus Helicopters to 67. The delivery of six NH90 transport helicopters also will be accelerated. These orders are tied to Sahel campaign needs.
Delivery for the last three of a total fleet of 12 Airbus A330 multirole tanker transport aircraft will be accelerated, with deliveries due between 2018 and 2025.