CDS Airdrop by a Strategic Airlift Capability C-17. Photo: HAW Archive / Henrik Gebhardt
This past weekend the Heavy Airlift responded quickly to a request from Sweden, one of the member nations of the Strategic Airlift Capability. They needed to re-supply their troops on short notice. The Troops are currently deployed to Mali, working for the MINUSMA mission. Considering the tight timeframe and the location, the member nation requested an Airdrop operation, which the Heavy Airlift Wing supported based on its SAC CONOPS airdrop capability.
Airdrop operations to re-supply deployed troops is not something that the Heavy Airlift Wing, the operational unit of the Strategic Airlift Capability, does regularly, so this request, where troops needed a quick delivery due to shortage in transport capacity to their location should be considered a rare event.
According to the troops that received the supplies, it was much needed to get a quick delivery to be able to continue operational activities.
The HAW C-17 dropped a total of 20 Container Delivery System (CDS) bundles, all of them containing spare parts, equipment and various supplies.
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 with the U.S. Government, via Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Agreements with the USAF, for SAC C-17 Technical and integrated Product Support, Flight Crew Training and operational data services. The USAF in turn sub-contracts many of these services to Industry; notably Boeing and Pratt & Whitney.