The C-160 is a military transport aircraft, produced by TRANSALL (TRANSporter ALLianz) manufacturing consortium, comprising the companies of MBB, Aerospatiale and VFW-Fokker.
The project arose from a late 1950’s requirement of both France and Germany to replace the piston-engined Nord Noratlas transports operated by their air forces.
The type is a twin-engine design, featuring a cargo hold, a rear-access ramp beneath an upswept tail, and a high-mounted wing, able to perform cargo/troop duties and aerial delivery of supplies and equipment.
It has short airfield performance, including the ability to perform steep descents of up to 20 degrees and perform landings on airstrips as short as 400 meters.
Later production C-160s could carry up to 8.5 tons across a distance of 5,000 kilometers, taking off from airstrips as short as 700 meters.
Depending upon aircraft configuration, a single aircraft could airdrop as many as 88 paratroopers or transport up to 93 equipped troops.
A very useful feature is that the whole plane can be lowered while on the ground through partial retraction of its landing gear, making it easier to move vehicles into the hold as they don't need to climb a ramp.
As of 2022, the C-160 still remains in service, almost 60 years after the type's first flight in 1963.
An ample performer, 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.
With 214 built, including export sales to South Africa and Turkey, as well as to a small number to civilian operators, this well designed, dependable aircraft is going to be replaced in French and German service by the Airbus A400M Atlas and a small number of Lockheed-Martin C-130J Super Hercules operated in a multinational unit.
The Heller kit offers a correct general shape and easiness of build, but lacks in detailing, especially in the interior.
Until the arrival of the more comprehensive (but more challenging to build) Revell offering in 2006, it was the only choice in 1/72
and, despite its shortcomings, Heller has to be endorsed for coming up with such a kit from as back as 1984.
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