France, Germany and Sweden to develop new medium-lift aircraft, aiming to replace CN-235 and C-130 Hercules

France, Germany and Sweden signed an agreement for the development of a new aircraft of medium transport capacity (FMTC program: Future Mid-Size Tactical Cargo). The agreement was signed on June 23 and announced on June 30.

The program concerns the development of an aircraft that will replace the American C-130 Hercules (carrying capacity: about 20 tons) and the Spanish CN-235 (carrying capacity: about 6 tons), which are in service in the three countries, around 2040. The program is supported by the European organization EDA (European Defense Agency), within the framework of the PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) cooperation.

The new aircraft will complement the larger-capacity A400M. Of course, the new European transport aircraft will be available in countries other than France, Germany and Sweden.

The coordinator of the program is France, while the program is open for the participation of other European countries. Now, the three countries will define common specifications for the aircraft, while development of the aircraft is expected to begin in 2026-2027. It is not the first time that France and Germany have collaborated on the development of a transport aircraft.

In the 1950s they collaborated in the development and production of the C-160 Transall, with a transport capacity of about 16 tons.

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