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The Transall C-160 first flew in 1963. Production was completed in 1972, but in 1977 the program was reinstated to produce a “new generation” C-160 for France. The last of these new generation aircraft entered service in 1987. The wings are high-mounted and equally tapered outboard of the engines with blunt tips. Two turboprop engines are mounted under and extend beyond the wings’ leading edges. The fuselage is long, thick, and tapered to the rear with a round, solid nose, stepped cockpit and upswept tail section. The tail flats are mid-mounted on a thinned body, equally tapered with blunt tips. The fin is tall and tapered with a blunt tip and a fairing in the leading edge.

C-160 Gabriel

The C-160 Gabriel configures an ELINT subsystem provided by Thomson-CSF Radars & Contre-Mesures for detection, analysis and location of radar sources with a COMINT subsystem provided by Thomson-CSF Communications for detection, interception, classification, listening-in, analysis and location of radio transmitters. Thomson-CSF Radars & Contre-Mesures has developed complete SIGINT electronic intelligence systems for integration on board aircraft such as DC-8, Boeing 707, C-160, Transall and C-130.

C-160 Gabriel

Typical mission

Electronic and photo intelligence

Builder team :

Aerospatiale / Thomson-CSF

First flight :

April 1981

In-service in French Air Force :

1 intelligence fleet with 2 C-160 Gabriel (Metz)

Maximum speed :

515 kph at 16,000 ft

Crew :

14 including 9 operators

Special equipment :

Electromagnetic intelligence gathering device

Main user countries :

No authorisation for exportation

NATO interoperability :



Country of Origin France, Germany

Builder team :

Transall : French-German co-operation Aerospatiale - DASA MBB

New Transall : Aerospatiale / Atelier Industriel de l’Aéronautique de Clermont-Ferrand

First flight :

February, 1962 (first batch) / April, 1981 (second batch)

In-service in French Air Force :

August, 1967 for the C 130 F (first batch) / April, 1982 for the C 130 NG (second batch)/ May, 1994 for the C 160 R (retrofited avionics for both batches)

RoleTransport, cargo (93 equipped troops, tactical vehicles), airdrop, EW, surveillance, airborne command
Similar Aircraft G.222, C-123 Provider, Aviocar C-212, C-130 Hercules, An-12 Cub
Wing Span 131 ft, 3 in (40 m)
Length 106 ft, 3 in (32.4 m)
Height 11.67 m

Net weight / Maximum weight at takeoff :

29 t / 51 t

Fuel capacity :

19,500 l at takeoff / 26,000 l after in-flight refuelling

Power plant / Thrust :

Turbo-prop Rolls-Royce Tyne 22 / 2 x 5,665 HP

Maximum speed515 kph at 16,000 ft
Cruising speed
Service Ceiling26,000 ft
ArmamentUsually none

Special equipment :

Computer-operated navigation with inertial navigation system and GPS, communication system with central command

Crew :

2 pilots, 1 navigator, 1 engineer, 1 cabin operator

Major operational capabilities :

Night tactical flights at low altitude with night vision goggles

Transport of passengers and freight to short and ill-prepared fields

NATO interoperability :

Protected radiocommunications, identification friend or foe

User Countries France, Germany, South Africa, Turkey

Number of units produced :

122 (including 66 retrofited for France) 

French Air Force inventory :

66 (including 42 in 4 tactical transport squadrons)

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Monday, November 15, 1999 5:25:38 AM