A loadmaster of the Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing and Estonian and U.S. jumpmasters handle static line airdrop equipment on board a SAC C-17 after jumps performed by US and Estonian paratroopers during the September 2015 SAC airdrop training event in Estonia. Photo: Gen Vagula
The 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability program arranges regular training for its Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircrews to keep up their proficiency in carrying out parachute assisted delivery of personnel and cargo to cover the airlift needs of its member nations. The training is regularly accomplished in different program member nations in Europe to give the local military personnel the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the C-17 airdrop operations.
The first airdrop training event outside SAC host nation Hungary took place in August 2013 in Norway. During the first week of September 2015 a SAC C-17 was flown by the program operational arm, the Heavy Airlift Wing, to Ämari Air Base to carry out a similar training event in Estonia, a program member nation that hadn't hosted a SAC airdrop event before.
During the airdrop training Estonian Defence Forces paratroopers had the opportunity to jump out of the C-17 over the Nurmsi Drop Zone with the paratroopers of the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade. Airdrops with several different types of payloads were carried out during the week-long training exercise.
The airdrops were documented by Gen Vagula, an Estonian freelance photographer. His work can be viewed in the exercise gallery at the Estonian Defence Forces website.