France, Germany, and Sweden build a new tactical cargo aircraft

MADRID ($1=0.97 Euros) — Paris, Berlin, and Stockholm will build a new European transport aircraft under the Future Mid-size Tactical Cargo [FMTC] program. It is one of the fourteen projects included in the fourth wave of the European Union’s Permanent Structured Cooperation [PESCO] initiatives and was therefore already known since last November, although now the three participating countries have firmly agreed on its launch.

France, Germany, and Sweden build a new tactical cargo aircraft
Photo credit: NATO

The alliance is open to new partners and, in fact, “it is possible that other countries will join soon,” as revealed by the French Air Force and Space Force [AAE].

The launch of the program was signed two weeks ago, taking advantage of the European Wings meeting, at the French Orléans-Brissi air base, although the French Ministry of Defense announced it days later.

The event welcomed a dozen Air Force Chiefs of Staff and European civil and military authorities cited in this framework [European Wings], outlined to “demonstrate the strategic importance of air assets to the European Union’s crisis management operations, the imperative to ensure access to contested airspace and the need for cooperation to increase air power, particularly at the upper end of the spectrum, in favor of freedom of action for EU and NATO missions”.

In this context, the FMTC program agreement was signed on June 23, which the official French source described as “a tactical transport aircraft project that will replace the C-130 Hercules and the Casa CN-235 by 2040.”

Complete the A400M

The aim of the FMTC project, according to PESCO, is “to increase the air mobility capabilities of the armed forces of the EU Member States”. With it, “it seeks to complement the missions of the A400M, even on narrow and short unprepared runways, to collectively and effectively meet the next transport challenges in military operations or crisis response situations.”

This agreement, supported by the European Defense Agency [EDA], “allows for the determination of the aircraft that are intended to operate in addition to the A400M fleet from 2040,” according to the information provided by AAE.

Two Turkish A400M stuck in Ukraine delivering Bayraktar UAVs
Photo credit: FluRevue

This signing “marks an important first step for the FMTC project to converge towards more precise common specifications.” Subsequent industrial feasibility studies could lead to new aircraft development starting around 2026 and 2027.

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