A SAC C C-17 takes-off to conduct the first joint forcible entry air drop mission in Bulgaria during exercise Swift Response. Photo: HAW / Henrik Gebhardt
The multinational exercise Saber Guardian, is enabled by several smaller Bulgarian, Hungarian, Romanian and U.S. exercises. One of them are Swift Response, conducted this year at Pápa Air Base, Hungary.
The Swift Response exercise included rapid-response, joint forcible entries and follow-on operations conducted with air assaults and air land operations in Bulgaria and Romania. Two SAC C-17's supported those operations, and at two occasions a SAC C-17 was the first aircraft across the drop zones in Bulgaria and Romania.
The Swift Response exercise involved 2,500 participants from U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team and 500 participants from the 143rd Infantry Regiment Texas Army National Guard. Other participating ground units included Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Romania, which accounted for approximately twelve percent participating in Saber Guardian 2017.
Air drop in the dark! A platform with heavy equipment about to be dropped over Romania. 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.