The crew of Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing C-17 SAC 02 and the US and Polish paratroopers participating in the May 3 personnel airdrop gathering for a pre-mission shot at Świdwin Air Base, Poland. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko
The airdrop missions carried out with SAC Boeing C-17 Globemaster III long range cargo jet SAC 02 consisted of parachute assisted delivery of cargo and personnel to two designated drop zones in Latvia and Poland.
SAC 02 is loaded with Container Delivery System (CDS) pallets in Aviano Air Base, Italy prior to the May 2 airdrop mission in Latvia. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko
During the first mission that took place on May 2nd, SAC 02 picked up 12 Container Delivery System (CDS) cargo bundles weighing approximately 630 kilograms (1,380 lbs) each from Aviano Air Base, Italy. The cargo was delivered to a drop zone set up on Ādaži training range, Latvia, approximately 20 kilometers (appx.12 miles) northeast from the capital Riga.
A Swedish Loadmaster inspects the CDS pallets moments before the airdrop. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko
The last one of the 12 CDS pallets leaves the rear cargo ramp of SAC 02 over the Ādaži training range, Latvia. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko
During the May 3rd mission SAC 02 picked up United States Army paratroopers of the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) accompanied by Polish paratroopers from Świdwin Air Base in northwestern Poland and carried out two personnel airdrop flights over the nearby Ziemsko drop zone.
US and Polish paratroopers board SAC 02 at Świdwin Air Base on May 3 for the second one of the personnel airdrop training missions flown by the Heavy Airlift Wing to support the Expanded Land Force Training Activities in Poland. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko
The airdrops, requested by the Strategic Airlift Capability member nation the United States, were a part of a series of Heavy Airlift C-17 missions carried out to support the ongoing expanded training activities of SAC nations’ armed forces and NATO alliance members in Poland and the Baltic States Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Alongside with material and personnel airdrop missions, the Heavy Airlift Wing has supported the exercises with several regular airlift missions in late April and early May of 2014.
The May 3 airdrops in Poland were carried out by a very multinational team. The US and Polish paratroopers were supported by a Heavy Airlift Wing aircrew consisting of representatives of five nations. The aircraft commander of SAC 02 is seen here in a pre-airdrop briefing with the leadership and instructors of the US paratroopers in Świdwin. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko
The successful airdrops in Latvia and Poland marked a significant milestone to the multinational Strategic Airlift Capability program and its operational arm Heavy Airlift Wing. The Heavy Airlift Wing that began its flight operations in 2009 has previously performed several separate personnel and material airdrop training events with armed forces of the 12 SAC nations. The May 2014 airdrop missions were the first ones that were carried out by the HAW as a part of multinational exercises under conditions simulating operational airdrop scenarios.
US and Polish paratroopers take a rest in front of the C-17 SAC 02 waiting for their airdrop flight at Świdwin Air Base, Poland on May 3 2014. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko
After going through a quick change of configuration from transporting cargo to a personnel airdrop platform SAC 02 is ready to take the paratroopers to their destination. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko
For the Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing, the airdrops in Poland and Latvia marked significant milestones as they were the first occasions for the wing to carry out operational airdrop missions as a part of a multinational exercise. A US paratrooper exits SAC 02 through the side troop door over Ziemsko drop zone during the second airdrop flight of May 3. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko
About the Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift WingThe Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) based in Hungarian Defence Forces (HDF) Pápa Air Base, Hungary is the operational arm of the multinational Strategic Airlift Capability program (SAC). The HAW operates three C-17 Globemaster III long-range military cargo jets providing strategic airlift capability to meet the mission requirements of the 12 SAC partner nations .The HAW became operational in 2009 and its aircraft fleet has achieved over 13.000 flying hours. The unit reached Full Operational Capability (FOC) in 2012.
The SAC Nations consist of the NATO members Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States and NATO Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden.
SAC can support the airlift needs of its member nations related to national defense, UN, EU and NATO commitments and humanitarian relief.
In its operations, SAC receives support from the NATO Airlift Management Program (NAMP) and the Boeing Company.