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Heavy Airlift Wing


The Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) operates the C-17 fleet of the Strategic Airlift Capability planning and executing the airlift missions requested by the SAC nations. It is the only multinational C-17 wing in the world.

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Heavy Airlift Wing Leadership

Heavy Airlift Wing Units

Heavy Airlift Wing Mission Performance


The Heavy Airlift Wing consists of the Command Staff, the Command and Control Squadron (C2S), the Heavy Airlift Squadron (HAS) and the Logistics Support Squadron (LSS) each responsible of different aspects of the airlift mission.

The HAW is composed of approximately 145 personnel from the 12 nations. Strategic Airlift Capability nations send their personnel to work for the Heavy Airlift Wing on temporary or permanent positions.

The personnel of the Heavy Airlift Wing represents the 12 SAC member nations. Photo: HAW / Henrik Gebhardt

The personnel contributed to the Heavy Airlift Wing correspond to the participating nations' share of flight hours. Crewmembers can be assigned to various missions, not only those requested by their nation. Nevertheless, a country can withdraw its airmen from a particular mission for national caveats.

The Commander of the Heavy Airlift Wing exercises the authority over mission execution.

He is also the final authority in making decisions regarding conflicting requests from the SAC nations. In this capacity he assesses the mission requests according to a Mission Priority Classification defined in the SAC Memorandum of Understanding, the founding document of the program:

  1. Employment or deployment of forces in support of NATO, EU or UN military operations
  2. Response to actual or anticipated armed conflict or crisis where a SAC nation is involved
  3. National emergencies in direct support of a SAC nations' citizens.
  4. National support of NATO, EU, or UN operations not covered in #1
  5. National support of humanitarian operations
  6. Other national requirements

In exercising this authority the Commander of the Heavy Airlift Wing should first consider emergency need to safeguard life of participants' citizens, and second, the nation with more flight hours.

Wing Leadership

The leadership positions of the Heavy Airlift Wing are manned by the member nations with the biggest share of flight hours in the SAC program, the United States, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway.

Colonel James S. Sparrow of the United States Air Force is the Commander of the Heavy Airlift Wing.

Colonel Peder Söderström of the Swedish Air Force is the Vice Commander of the Heavy Airlift Wing.

Chief Master Sergeant Troy Barber of the United States Air Force is the Senior Enlisted Advisor of the Heavy Airlift Wing.


Heavy Airlift Wing Units


HAW Command Staff

HAW Command Staff Logo_web.jpg The HAW Command Staff consist of functions for the Wing Administrational Office (HAW Admin), Executive Assistance (HAW Exec), Protocol, Public Affairs, Legal Advisory, Safety and Quality Assurance.

The Command Staff is led by the HAW Chief of Command Staff with HAW Quality Manager overseeing the Quality Assurance and Safety sections.



Command and Control Squadron (C2S)

C2S__logo_web.jpgThe Heavy Airlift Wing Command and Control Squadron (C2S) is the focal point for all interaction within the HAW and between wing and the SAC nations regarding their operational airlift requirements.

The function of the C2S is to receive operational requirements for airlift from nations and convert them into actionable mission taskings.The C2S ensures that the requested missions are executable politically and that the desired payload is transportable by air.

It also defines the mission priority and helps to set the Required Delivery Date. C2S works in close cooperation with SAC support organization NATO Airlift Management Programme Office, Pápa Air Base and the Boeing team in Pápa to make sure that all the operational, administrational and technical support are there to make the airlift mission happen.

C2S ((c) Veronika Devenyi_web.jpg 

Heavy Airlift Wing Command and Control Squadron Mission Planners at Work. Photo: Veronika Dévényi.

C2S staff is divided into three sections; Mission Planning and Execution, Diplomatic Clearance and Administrative Support. It is also especially multinational as seven of the twelve SAC nations (Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Sweden) are represented in the personnel of the C2S.

Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Wood of the United States Air Force is the Commander of the Command and Control Squadron.


Heavy Airlift Squadron (HAS)

HAS_logo_web.jpgThe Heavy Airlift Squadron (HAS) is the world's first and only multinational C-17 operations squadron.

HAS consists of the Heavy Airlift Wing flight crews and specialized functions for Intelligence, Tactics, Training, Standardization and Evaluation, HAW Combat Security and Aviation Management.

HAS's heritage is rooted in the training, policies and standards of the US mobility system that is the basis of operations of the United States Air Force, the main user of the C-17.

The HAS has also adapted the best practices of C-17 sister squadrons in the USAF, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force.

The squadron structure, policies and procedures are designed to operate in support of the Strategic Airlift Capability nations’ strategic policies to include combat and humanitarian airlift wherever and whenever they require it.

The HAS flight crews have a varied background of flying and working with cargo aircraft, fighter jets and helicopters in their national militaries. Apart from the US personnel, none of them have C-17 training before joining the HAW.

HAS aircrew ((c) HAW_Ville Tuokko)_web.jpg  

Heavy Airlift Squadron air crew members represent various SAC nations and carry out the C-17 missions with mixed nationality crews. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko

After C-17 training has been carried out both in the United States and in Pápa, HAS aircrews are capable of reaching a high level of skill in utilizing the various capabilities of the aircraft.

Currently the HAS is the only C-17 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) unit that is trained and capable of performing the entire spectrum of C-17 Airland and Airdrop Mission Capabilities.

All HAS crewmembers are proficient in Airland operations that include Night Vision Goggles (NVG) operations, Tactical Arrivals and Departures, Assault Landings and Aeromedical Evacuation (AE) operations.

Additionally, a minimum of 50 percent of the HAS Aircraft Commanders can carry out Air Refueling missions. Thereare also two aircrews capable of Single Ship Airdrop of Heavy Equipment (HE), Container Delivery System (CDS) pallets and Personnel (PERS) at all times.

Lieutenant Colonel Mikael Tormalm of the Swedish Air Force is the commander of the Heavy Airlift Squadron.


Logistics Support Squadron (LSS)

LSS Logo_web.jpgThe Logistics Support Squadron (LSS) is in charge of providing the Heavy Airlift Wing with a variety of functions. It consists of sections for Maintenance, Supply, Aerial Port and Aircrew Flight Equipment Support.

LSS Flying Crew Chiefs (FCCs), specialists of aircraft maintenance, travel with the C-17s as a part of the crew to perform maintenance at en-route locations. Vehicle Maintenance ensures that SAC vehicles are in top condition for licensed drivers to use. The LSS Supply Section works in conjunction with Boeing to ensure parts and support equipment are available to the aircraft maintainers, both at home station as well as en-route. The LSS Aircrew Flight Equipment Section ensures that Aircrew Flight Equipment is maintained for the safety of the aircrew and passengers.

AP ((C) HAW_Ville Tuokko)_web.jpg  

The HAW LSS Aerial Port is responsible of loading and handling the cargo transported by the SAC C-17 aircraft. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko

The LSS Aerial Port ensures safe loading and unloading of passengers and cargo at home station, provides airdrop training support, and ensures compliance with cargo air transport regulations at all aerial ports where SAC C-17s operate.

In addition to all these items, LSS works continuously with HDF Pápa Air Base and the civilian authorities of Hungary on many support issues such as fuels, ground transportation, customs and other services.

Lieutenant Colonel John Roem of the Royal Netherlands Air Force is the Commander of the Logistics Support Squadron.


Heavy Airlift Wing Mission Performance 2009 – 2017

 Missions Sorties Flight Hours PassengersCargo (in metric tons)Cargo  (in pounds)