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SAC Milestones 2006 -


Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko

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SAC milestones 2006 – 2008

2008 – 2010

2010 – 2012

2012 – 2014

2014 –


12 September 2006



Photo: NATO

A Letter of Intent for establishing a multinational strategic airlift initiative, NATO Strategic Airlift Capability, is signed by 13 NATO nations.



23 September 2008

Ten NATO member countries and two Partnership for Peace nations establish the Strategic Airlift Capability by signing the SAC Memorandum of Understanding. NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA) is founded to be the SAC support organization.



16 March 2009


Photo: Boeing

The construction of the SAC aircraft takes a significant step forward as four major fuselage sections of the first C-17 to be delivered, SAC 01, are joined at the Boeing Facility in Long Beach, CA.


14 July 2009


Photo: HAW

The first aircraft of the SAC operational arm, the Heavy Airlift Wing, C-17 SAC 01 is delivered. It Arrives to its home field Pápa Air Base after a ferry flight from the Boeing Long Beach Facility.

27 July 2009


Photo: HAW

The Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing is officially activated in a ceremony held at the Pápa Air Base.


13 August 2009

The Heavy Airlift Wing flies its first operational airlift mission. At a request from the United States passengers are transported from Ramstein Air Base, Germany to Pristina International Airport in Kosovo.


27 – 28 September 2009

HAW flies its first mission in support of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan delivering cargo from Karlsborg Air Base, Sweden to Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan at a request of Sweden.


12 October 2009

The third and last of the three SAC C-17 aircraft is delivered.


December 2009


Photo: USAFE

The Heavy Airlift Wing flies the first one of a total of three missions to Iraq supporting the NATO Training mission in the country.



January – February 2010


Photo: HAW

The Heavy Airlift Wing conducts three humanitarian relief missions to Haiti delivering aid equipment and supplies to help the country, whose capital Port-au-Prince has been devastated in a massive earthquake.


13 February 2010

The Strategic Airlift Capability C-17 fleet reaches a total flying time of 1,000 flight hours.


14 April 2010

A Strategic Airlift Capability C-17 repatriates bodies of the victims of the Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash in Smolensk, Russia to Warsaw, Poland.


19 November 2010


Photo: HAW

The Heavy Airlift Wing accomplishes its first mission without US Air Force members on board as a crew of seven airmen consisting of three Swedes, two Norwegians, one Bulgarian and one Pole fly a C-17 in the support of ISAF forces in Afghanistan.




21 March 2011

The Heavy Airlift Wing flies its first mission in support of NATO operations in Libya from RAF Lakenheath, UK to Aviano Air Base, Italy according to a request from the United States.


April 2011

A Strategic Airlift Capability C-17 participates in the exercise Atlas Drop 2011 in Uganda by carrying out the first palletized cargo air drop training mission in Africa in the history of the program.


5 November 2011

The Heavy Airlift Wing has flown at least one mission for each Strategic Airlift Capability nation. The milestone is achieved as a mission requested by Estonia flown in the support of the nation's ISAF troops in Afghanistan.




1 July 2012

The NATO Airlift Management Agency merges with the NATO Maintenance and Support Agency (NAMSA) and the Central European Pipeline Management Agency (CEPMA) into the NATO Support Agency (NSPA).


14 November 2012

Heavy Airlift Wing Declares Full Operational Capability (FOC).



March 2013


Photo: HAW

The Heavy Airlift Wing conducts its first missions to support the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) actions in Mali in support of the UN Security Council Resolution.


2 April 2013

Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing C-17 Fleet Reaches 10,000 Flying Hours.


1 July 2013


Photo: HAW / Pieter De Bock

During his visit to Pápa Air Base the Secretary General of NATO, Mr Anders Fogh Rasmussen participates in the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction work of the Strategic Airlift Capability Permanent Facilities that will house SAC functions in Pápa and include the first C-17 aircraft hangar in Europe.



22 January 2014


Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko

The Heavy Airlift Wing performs its first material airdrop training mission in its host nation Hungary utilizing the Gyulafirátót training range in the vicinity of the town of Veszprém.


29 January 2014


Photo: NAM PO

Infrastructure developments at Pápa Air Base take a step forward as the Strategic Airlift Capability Interim Cargo Facility intended for temporary storage of cargo transported via Pápa on SAC flights is inaugurated.


May 2014


Photo: HAW

Heavy Airlift Wing conducts its first mission to support the European Union military operation EUFOR RCA in the Republic of Central Africa.


June 2014

The Heavy Airlift Wing flies its 1,000th airlift mission.


July 2014


The Strategic Airlift Capability reaches its fifth anniversary of airlift operations.


July – August 2014


Photo: HAW / Juha Vehokari

The Strategic Airlift Capability provides logistics support to the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash investigation by transporting a K-Loader vehicle from Pápa Air Base, Hungary to Kharkiv, Ukraine on a C-17 aircraft.


October 2014


Photo: NAM PO

The first of the three Straegic Airlift Capability C-17s, SAC 01 rolls out from the Boeing Heavy Maintenance Production line. Heavy Maintenance is a four-month extensive work that is carried out on C-17s every five years to ensure the safe and reliable operation of aircraft systems. SAC C-17 will undergo Heavy Maintenance during years 2014 and 2015.


28 November 2014

The Strategic Airlift Capability C-17 fleet reaches 15,000 flight hours.




January 2015

The Strategic Airlift Capability flies its first missions in the support of the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) replacing the ISAF operation in Afghanistan.


April 2015

NATO Support Agency changes its name into NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA).


November 2015

A SAC C-17 transports patients with severe burn injuries from Bucharest to the United Kingdom and Norway for treatment.

Read the news release: Strategic Airlift Capability Transports Burn Victims from Romania to United Kingdom and Norway 


Photo: HAW / Tuomas Saavalainen.


December 2015

An old hardened fighter shelter is converted into a Transient Hazardous Material Storage Facily at Pápa Air Base.

Read the news release: New Transient Hazardous Material Storage Facility Completed at Pápa Air Base


Photo: HAW / Tuomas Saavalainen.




January 2016

Simulator training of HAW flight crews begins at the Boeing Defence UK facility in Farnborough, enabling significant cost savings.

Read the news release: Simulator Flight Training Contract Awarded to Boeing


1 March 2016 

First airlift mission to the semi-prepared runway of Gao Airport, Mali. 

Read the news release: First Airlift Mission to Gao, Mali 


Photo: Royal Netherlands Army.


April 2016

Two SAC C-17s support Exercise Saber Junction 2016 with successful airdrops, including the first quadruple sequential heavy drops in the history of the Heavy Airlift Wing.

Read the news release: Successful Airdrops and Airborne Jumps Support Exercise Saber Junction 2016


Photo: USAF / 31st Fighter Wing / SrA Krystal Ardrey.


May 2016 

Strategic Airlift Capability moves to new offices at Pápa Air Base.

Read the news release: Strategic Airlift Capability Moves to New Offices at Pápa Air Base 


Photo: HAW / Tuomas Saavalainen.


June 2016

The Heavy Airlift Wing transitions to a new Mission Monitoring and Scheduling System.

Read the news release: New Mission Monitoring and Scheduling System for the Heavy Airlift Wing 


10 August 2016

The Strategic Airlift Capability C-17 fleet reaches 20,000 flight hours.

Read the news release: Strategic Airlift Capability C-17A Fleet Reaches 20,000 Flight Hours


November 2016

Completion of the new C-17 hangar at Pápa Air Base.


Photo: NAM PO.

LEARN MORE: SAC Future Developments