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Globemaster tails
Pápa Air Base, Hungary
PHOTO BY Joseph Juarez - U.S. AIR FORCE
SAC 01, the first of three C-17 Globemaster IIIs to be flown by multinational aircrews from the 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability Program's Heavy Airlift Wing, awaits its maiden flight home July 14 from Boeing's C-17 final assembly facility in Long Beach, Calif., to Papa Air Base, Hungary. 

SAC 01 takes off beginning its 5,300-nautical-mile maiden flight 14 July 2009 from Long Beach, Calif., to Papa Air Base, Hungary. The aircraft is the first of three C-17 Globemaster IIIs to be acquired by the 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability Program. The Hungarian air base is home to the SAC Program's multinational, operational-level unit, the Heavy Airlift Wing, which will officially be activated 27 July 2009.

12-nation Heavy Airlift Wing takes flight with first C-17
BY Maj. Cristin Marposon U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs

7/16/2009 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- Twelve nations saw their dreams of strategic airlift come true as the multinational Heavy Airlift Wing they've built from scratch in less than a year received the "keys" to its first C-17 Globemaster III July 14 in Long Beach, Calif.

During a ceremony at Boeing's final assembly facility, Col. John Zazworsky who commands the HAW in a multinational capacity, officially received the first of three C-17s to be acquired by the Strategic Airlift Capability Program's consortium. 

The consortium includes NATO member nations Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States, as well as Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden.

"This is an unprecedented milestone for these 12 nations," Colonel Zazworsky said. "They've shared a common need for strategic airlift, yet they've each faced the financial obstacle of independently acquiring a heavy airlifter. Now, they collectively own an amazing machine that will serve them well.

"Since September 2008 when the consortium's memorandum of understanding went into effect, we've tirelessly worked to build from scratch what's essentially a multinational air force -- without a real template of any kind," the colonel said. "Our timeline has been aggressive, but we're prepared to safely fly SAC 01."

While some of the 11 European nations participating in the program own tactical airlifters, including the C-130, SAC 01, as the first C-17 is known, represents the first strategic airlift asset for all 11 nations. And given each nation's commitment to support NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the HAW's eventual C-17 fleet of three will make transporting troops and supplies to Afghanistan more efficient and economical.

Colonel Zazworsky knows this fact well, having flown the C-17 himself for years and having commanded C-17 units both stateside and in expeditionary roles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"SAC 01 is going to be a huge enabler for all the nations involved," he explained. "And that's really what it's all about -- building capacity through partnership."

At the hands of HAW pilots from Norway, Sweden and the U.S., SAC 01 departed Long Beach for Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., shortly after the delivery ceremony, beginning its 5,300-nautical-mile maiden flight home to Pápa Air Base, Hungary, the HAW's home base.

But to make the most of the miles, HAW loadmasters, also from Norway, Sweden and the U.S., will load SAC 01 at Charleston AFB with specialized heavy equipment, like cargo loading vehicles and forklifts, which will enable the HAW to carry out logistics support functions at Pápa AB.

"I feel fortunate to be on the first trip with the airplane," said Royal Norwegian Air Force Capt. Havard Brorby, a HAW loadmaster who trained at the C-17 Aircrew Training Center at Altus AFB, Okla., this spring. "My country would never be able to have an aircraft like this, but now it's possible."

According to Colonel Zazworsky, SAC 01 will begin operational missions in support of the nations' requirements by the end of the month, just days after the wing's official activation ceremony July 27. Many of those missions will be flown to meet the nations' commitments to ISAF.

With the second and third C-17s rounding out the HAW fleet of heavy airlifters in September and October, respectively, the HAW anticipates flying roughly 630 hours before the end of 2009, and scheduling more than 3,100 flying hours in 2010.

The nations' varying investments in the SAC Program dictate their proportionate share of the flying hours as well as their proportionate contribution of personnel. For instance, the U.S. has provided roughly 30 percent of the funding, will use 30 percent of the annual flying hours and has committed 41 Airmen, or roughly 30 percent of the HAW's 131 total positions.

The HAW itself is a small wing by many nations' standards, but other entities will augment the overall mission. Some 70 Boeing contractors will provide material management and depot maintenance support for the HAW's C-17s. A NATO agency of roughly three dozen individuals will handle acquisition, logistics support and financial matters. And finally, the Hungarian air force, as host at Pápa AB, will manage the airfield, air traffic control operations and base infrastructure support.

Heavy Airlift Wing receives third, final C-17

10/16/2009 - PAPA AIR BASE, Hungary (AFNS) -- The third and final C-17 Globemaster III to complete the Heavy Airlift Wing aircraft inventory arrived here Oct. 12 and was welcomed by the Hungarian Chief of Defense General Laszlo Tombol and other civic leaders from the surrounding communities.
The delivery of the third aircraft marks the completion of the HAW that has been in the buildup stage for the past year.

"This is a very important milestone of the improvement of the Heavy Airlift Wing to fulfill the task to build this wing," said General Tombol during the ceremony. "For this challenge of setting up this wing, I wish you all the best."

The HAW's three aircraft will meet the strategic airlift requirements of the 12 Strategic Airlift Capability member nations for missions in support of NATO, the European Union and the U.N. One of the wing's current primary obligations is to support the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

"This is a great day for the SAC program, it's a great day for NATO, it's a great day for Hungary and a great day for Papa," said Gunnar Borch, NATO Airlift Management Agency general manager. "We have reached another very important milestone in the SAC program."

U.S. Air Force Col. John Zazworsky, HAW commander, piloted the first aircraft delivered to Papa Air Base and was on board for the delivery mission of the latest C-17.

"The delivery of this third plane came on a very special day," Colonel Zazworsky said. "When we picked up the airplane last week, it was the one-year anniversary of when just 14 of us started working here in Papa alongside the Hungarian air force to start this project.

"One year later, with the help of NAMA, Boeing, the Hungarian armed forces and the country of Hungary, we had all three of our airplanes in the air on the same day," he said. 

The first C-17 was delivered to Papa AB on July 18 and the second aircraft arrived here Sept. 21. The wing was officially activated in a multinational ceremony held July 27.

Over the past year, various U.S. Air Forces in Europe Airmen have been working to get the wing fully functional. Currently, there are 42 Airmen assigned to the HAW, working in partnership with 90 Airmen from 11 other nations.

The SAC comprises 10 NATO and two Partnership for Peace nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland (PfP), Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden (PfP), Romania and the United States.

NATO Airlift Management Agency
Strategic Airlift Capability Program
Airlift Wing

Ten NATO countries plus two Partner countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding confirming their participation in Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) initiative to acquire, manage, support and operate three Boeing C-17 strategic transport aircraft.

The aircraft operate out of Pápa Air Base in Hungary.  The first aircraft was delivered on 27 July 2009 with the second and third aircraft following in September and October 2009, respectively.

The aircraft is operated by multinational aircrews under the command of a multinational military structure – the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW).  The HAW is currently commanded by a US Air Force officer with a Swedish Air Force Deputy Commander.  The HAW is manned by personnel from all participating nations.

This is one of two complementary initiatives aimed at providing NATO nations and participating Partners with strategic airlift capabilities.  A second initiative is the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS), under which a multinational consortium of 18 countries has contracted a civilian company for the charter of Antonov An-124-100 transport aircraft.  In addition, there are national procurement programmes in place to improve airlift capabilities, including the acquisition by seven NATO nations of 180 A400M aircraft, and the purchase by Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of C-17s for national use.



The C-17 is a large strategic transport aircraft capable of carrying 77 000 kilograms of cargo over 4450 kilometers (2400 nautical miles) and is able to operate in difficult environments and austere conditions.

The planes are configured and equipped to the same general standard as C-17s operated by the US Air Force. The crews and support personnel are trained for mission profiles and standards agreed by the countries.

These strategic lift aircraft are used to meet national requirements, but could also be allocated for NATO, UN or EU missions, or for other international purposes. The Heavy Airlift Wing has flown missions in support of ISAF and KFOR operations, for humanitarian relief activities in Haiti and Pakistan and peacekeeping mission in Africa.



Following intense consultations, a Letter of Intent (LOI) to launch contract negotiations was publicly released by 13 NATO countries on 12 September 2006.  In the intervening period, two Partners joined the consortium and NATO participation evolved to the current ten members. On 20 June 2007, the North Atlantic Council approved the Charter of a NATO Production and Logistics Organisation (NPLO), which authorizes the establishment of the NATO Airlift Management Organisation (NAMO).  The Charter came into effect upon signature to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and notification to the North Atlantic Council, in September 2008.  The Charter authorized the establishment of the NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA), which acquired, manages and supports the airlift assets on behalf of the SAC nations.



The participants include ten NATO nations (Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States) and two Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations (Finland and Sweden).

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