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Launch of the modernization of the CN-235 transport aircraft of the Air and Aerospace Forces

After putting into service 19 CASA CN-235-200 transport aircraft in the 1990s, the French Air and Space Forces ordered 8 more in 2010. [des CN-235-300, ndlr] For 225 million euros, in order to exempt Transall C-160s, awaiting the arrival of the first A400M “Atlas”.

Typically, these aircraft, such as the 14 C-130H Hercules, will be replaced by 2040 by aircraft from a European program called “Future Mid-Size Tactical Cargo”. [FMTC – Futur Cargo Médian] Coordinated by France. But it is currently in the “feasibility study phase”, which will be launched by the European Commission in July 2022, funded by the European Defense Fund. [FEDef].

In this case, AAE’s first CN-235s will be approaching fifty years of service when FMTC materializes… hence the program that the Directorate General of Weapons has just put on track [DGA] to allow them to continue flying until then.

In fact, a “renewal” contract for all AAE’s CN-235s has been notified to a tandem formed by Thales Avs France SAS and Sabena Technics Bod, through a framework agreement involving a fixed stake of €107 million. The challenge is to equip these aircraft with modern avionics to allow them to operate until 2040.

This process is necessary because the goal is to make the 27 CN-235 compliant with new international air navigation standards. Otherwise, in theory, it could no longer fit civil air traffic.

The General Directorate of Foreign Affairs also specified that “the renewal will also improve navigation performance for tactical missions.”

As a reminder, it has a carrying capacity of 5 tons of freight [ou de 40 passagers]The CN-235 is used by the AfWA, both abroad and in mainland France, for population support missions [recherche et sauvetage, évacuations sanitaires]Transport and drop paratroopers and loads.

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