Loadmasters watch the parachutes of the CDS bundles deploy. Photo: HAW / Henrik Gebhardt
Every year the Heavy Airlift Wing of the Strategic Airlift Capability conducts air drop training outside the familiar environment of Pápa Air Base. This training is known as the Off Station Training.
This year, the Off Station Training was conducted in coordination with the Swift Response 17-2 exercise where two SAC C-17's were based at Aviano Air Base. The training objective included performing personnel air drops, air drops with platforms for heavy equipment, and Container Delivery System (CDS) air drops in support of Swift Response 17-2. The Heavy Airlift Wing also set up a Mission Planning Cell and an Operations Cell, manned by the Heavy Airlift Wing Command and Control Squadron and a ground team of flying crew chiefs for maintenance between missions.
The Command and Control Operations Cell, in the background the two SAC C-17's. Photo: HAW / Henrik Gebhardt
Although one personnel air drop was cancelled due to inclement weather in the drop zone in Hohenfels, Germany, the platforms with heavy equipment in that same mission could be dropped in accordance with the mission objective. All other missions during the exercise were performed as planned.
Preparations for CDS air drop. Loadmaster connects the static line. Photo: HAW / Henrik Gebhardt
Swift Response is an annual, U.S. Army Europe-led exercise focused on Allied airborne forces' ability to quickly and effectively respond to crisis situations as an interoperable multi-national team. Swift Response convened at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany and included more than 6,000 participants from Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Another mission coming up. Pilots on their way to the SAC C-17's. Photo: HAW / Henrik Gebhardt
About the Strategic Airlift Capability
Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), established in 2008, is a multinational program that provides its 12 member nations with assured access to military airlift capability by owning and operating three Boeing C-17A Globemaster III long-range cargo aircraft.
SAC is based at the Hungarian Defense Forces (HDF) Pápa Air Base, Hungary.
The SAC Nations are the NATO members Hungary (program host nation), Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States and NATO Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden. Each participating nation owns a share of the available flight hours of the SAC C-17As to serve the needs of their national defense, NATO, EU or UN commitments and humanitarian relief efforts.
SAC consists of the 12-nation Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) and the NATO Airlift Management Programme Office (NAM PO). The HAW is the operational unit and the NAM PO, an integral part of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), is the acquisition and sustainment authority of the SAC C-17A weapon system.
NAM PO contracts Boeing via a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement to provide technical support for the SAC C-17A aircraft.