A C-17 of the Strategic Airlift Capability performs a simulated humanitarian relief airdrop over the Gyulafirátót training area during the Capable Logistician 2015 exercise. Photo: Hungarian Ministry of Defence / Peter Snoj
Capable Logistician is a multinational exercise of NATO member and the Partnership and Peace nations that tests, evaluates and assesses several functional areas of military logistics.
During the second week of June the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III long-range cargo jets of the multinational Strategic Airlift Capability program supported the exercise by carrying out two airdrops over Balaton Drop Zone established on the Bakony Training Center training area 50 kilometers southeast from the SAC home base in the Hungarian Defence Forces Pápa Air Base.
Strategic Airlift Capability uses Balaton DZ monthly for the airdrop currency training of the aircrews of its operational arm, the Heavy Airlift Wing.
On 11 and 12 June the SAC C-17s carried out parachute-assisted delivery of heavy equipment and Container Delivery System (CDS) pallets simulating various types of supplies delivered during humanitarian relief missions to locations where landing with a heavy transport aircraft would not be possible.
Retaining the readiness to support humanitarian relief efforts is one of the tasks that the multinational Strategic Airlift Capability program can carry out with its C-17 aircraft according to requests of its 12 member nations. Ever since the start of its flight operations in 2009, SAC C-17s have been supported several humanitarian relief operations including the earthquake relief in Haiti and flood relief in Pakistan in 2010.
During the airdrop missions the SAC C-17s also carried out separate releases of countermeasures flares over the Gyulafirátót training area.
Flares are a part of the countermeasures system of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III protecting it from infrared homing missiles when operating in areas with an elevated level of threat by creating a source of heat acting as a decoy. They consist of a combination of pyrotechnic substances that are released from dispensers located around the airframe. When released, flares can be observed from the ground as bright lights followed by trails of smoke around the aircraft.
Releasing expiring flares during a training flight is a standard procedure carried out regularly as it offers the C-17 aircrews the opportunity to receive training on the use of countermeasures and also enables a safe method of disposal of the pyrotechnic products.
The flares were released over a part of the Gyulafirátót training area that was restricted from the public during the flights. After the release flares extinguish before they reach the ground and no hazardous residue that could be of risk to the public results from the releases.
Capable Logistician on the Hungarian Defence Forces Honvedelem.hu website
A SAC C-17 long-range cargo jet releases countermeasures flares during training mission over the Gyulafirátót training area. Photo: Hungarian Ministry of Defence / Peter Snoj