SALIS’ Sibling: NATO’s C-17 Pool Inaugurates In-House Heavy Lift
SAC passes 12,000 flight hours; New infrastructure at Papa AB.
Jan 29/14: Infrastructure. The SAC Heavy Airlift Wing inaugurates an 1,800 m2 Interim Cargo Facility at Papa AB, Hungary. Really, it’s just a tent with aluminum support structure and heating and ventilation, fencing, a vehicle maneuvering area, and roads connecting the facility to the taxiways of the base. Despite these limits, a covered and semi climate controlled facility is a notable step forward for the base, which needs that sort of capability to route and shift incoming supplies.
The HUF 282 million ($about 1.3 million) project was designed by local firm UVATERV Zrt., and carried out by STRABAG Zrt. Source: Heavyairliftwing.org, “Strategic Airlift Capability Interim Cargo Facility Inaugurated for Use at Pápa Air Base, Hungary”.
Nov 13/13: SAC’s 3 Boeing C-17As break the 12,000 flight hour mark during a combined Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian combined mission.
Since its launch in July 2009 the Heavy Airlift Wing has carried out over 840 missions delivering over 36,220 tons (79.9 million pounds) of cargo and carrying over 47,000 passengers. 2013 alone is expected to reach 3,165 annual flying hours. Sources: HeavyAirliftWing.org, “Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing C-17 Fleet Reaches 12.000 Flying Hours”.
The long-range C-17 Globemaster III heavy transport aircraft remains the backbone of US Air Mobility Command inter-theater transport around the world, and its ability to operate from shorter and rougher runways has made it especially useful during the Global War on Terror. Recent buys by Australia, Britain, and Canada have broadened the plane’s its global use. Now NATO, who has relied on the SALIS arrangement and its leased super-giant AN-124s from Russia, is looking to buy and own 3 C-17s as NATO pooled assets with multinational crews. Participating countries will receive allocated flight hours relative to their participation, and thus far they include 12 nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United States.
This order will not materially change the coming shut-down of C-17 production, but it does look like the inauguration of a pool that will fill a gaping hole in Europe’s defense capabilities – its complete lack of heavy airlift. This article covers NATO C-17 acquisition program, including its structure and ongoing announcements.
The program now has an adequate name, as NATO SAC has signed a contract, all 3 aircraft have been delivered, and SAC C-17s have been busy on missions for a couple of years now.
The NATO C-17 Pool
Contracts, Notifications & Key Events
2009 – 2014
2006 – 2007
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