Lord Jim wrote:ave a AAR Tanker able to refuel planes and helicopters and use austere airstrips to operate from unlike the Voyager. As I said fantasy, but far more useful than a number of so called priority programmes we are pursuing.
Not that far off if you take a testimony from 2016 by the then commander of French special forces:
"often need more than special forces to undertake special operations,” the general told the parliamentarians.
He also talked about the 14 C-130 Hercules, noting that if the contract to modernise eight of them is notified by autumn 2016, then these aircraft should be delivered between 2019 and 2022. The upgrade aims to significantly improve their tactical capabilities “notably, their self-protection, communications, aptitude to fly at very low altitude in low visibility with infrared detection capabilities,” the general explained.
He also stressed that lessons learned from recent operations “mean that we are now urging for this long endurance sensor, which is also what the C-130 is, to be equipped so that it can provide fire support to friendly troops and engage dynamic targets.” In other words, to give it the capacity to be able to fire a missile type munition. “This does not mean turning it into a bomber,” de Saint-Quentin stressed."
-whether this plan still stands (after the purchase of brand new Hercs, some with AAR/ ground refuelling kits) I don't know... Frenchie might know?
At that point the Reaper hrs available were 80% absorbed by specil ops (again, they have ordered armed Reapers since).
So whether to do specialist fit-outs, or to go with "standard" vendor-supported kit seems to be the cross-pull everywhere
- err on the safe side... and do both