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Transall C-160

The Transall C-160 is a military transport aircraft, produced as a joint venture between France and Germany. "Transall" is an abbreviation of the manufacturing consortium Transporter Allianz, comprising the companies of MBB, Aerospatiale and VFW-Fokker. It was initially developed to meet the requirements for a modern transport aircraft for the French and German Air Forces; export sales were also made to South Africa and to Turkey, as well as a small number to civilian operators.
The C-160 remained in service more than 50 years after the type's first flight in 1963. It has provided logistical support to overseas operations and has served in specialist roles such as an aerial refueling tanker, electronic intelligence gathering and as a communications platform.
The C-160 is expected to be replaced in French and German service by the Airbus A400M Atlas.


Three prototypes were built, one by each production company.
V1 was built by Nord Aviation at Bourges, France and first flew on 25 February 1963.
V2 was built by VFW at Lemwerder, Germany and first flew on 25 May 1963
V3 was built by HFB at Hamburg-Finkenwerder and first flew on 19 February 1964.

Six pre-production aircraft were built for Franco-German trials.
Proposed versions
Proposed commercial derivative, including a stretched 150-passenger version.

First-generation production
The initial production run of 169 aircraft were built by the three companies in France and Germany; Nord built 56 aircraft, VFW built 57 aircraft and HFB/MBB 56 (HFB became part of Messerchmitt-Bolkow-Blohm in 1969 during the production run). All three production lines produced a mixture of aircraft for France and Germany but the South African aircraft were all built by Nord.

Production aircraft for the West German Air Force; 110 were built. Twenty of these aircraft were delivered to Turkish Air Force in 1971 as C-160T. A few of the remaining German C-160 were fitted with the self-protection suite called ESS.
Production aircraft for the French Air Force; 50 were built.
Conversion of four C-160Fs for use by the French Postal Service.
Production aircraft for the South African Air Force; nine were built.

Second-generation production
From 1981 on, some new C-160 reached the wings of Armee de l'Air. The now C-160NG (Nouvelle Generation, New Generation) called aircraft has a fifth fuel tank in the middle of the wing above the fuselage, a refueling probe while the left side cargo door was removed. Some first-production series C-160F were fitted with the NG-versions changes and renamed C-160R (Renové).
Beside these changes, French Air Force introduced the C-160G Gabriel, a version for electronic reconnaissance, easily to distinguish because of the antennas fitted to the aircraft.
Until the early 2000s, also the C-160H Astarte was used, while Astarté (Avion Station Relais de Transmissions Exceptionelles), meaning "airborne relay station for special transmissions", was used for communication with submerged French nuclear submarines.
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