Will France acquire a real strategic air transport capacity?

A few days after the Ministry of the Armed Forces recognized France's critical dependence in terms of strategic air transport, Minister Florence Parly asked the General Directorate of Armament (DGA) to study an alternative solution. What give a very positive outlook to the projection capabilities of the French armed forces.

In terms of “oversized” strategic air transport (very large aircraft), France depends on the NATO SALIS Contract or on private contracts via the broker ICS. These contracts have the characteristic of depending on the same Russian or Ukrainian suppliers. The heart of the capacity provided is the Antonov 124 aircraft, capable of transporting around 80 to 120 tonnes of freight over 8400 and 4800 km respectively. These aircraft, in addition to being increasingly rare, are no longer produced today, the French strategic transport fleet is therefore threatened with obsolescence (30 years of average age per aircraft) or attrition to short term. A situation which forces the French public authorities to mobilize to anticipate a possible crisis.

In recent years, oversized air transport for the benefit of the French armed forces has often been carried out through private An-124s operated by Ukrainian and Russian companies.

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