A Heavy Airlift Wing loadmaster observes the departure of a CDS cargo pallet from the rear cargo ramp of a Strategic Airlift Capability C-17 during the 20 November training over the Gyulafirátót training range in Hungary. Photo: HAW / Ville Tuokko
The Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW), the operational arm of the multinational Strategic Airlift Capability program (SAC) has carried out regular airdrop training flights with its fleet of Boeing C-17 Globemaster III long-range cargo jets over the Gyulafirátót training range, situated 40 kilometers southeast from the SAC home base in Pápa, since January 2014.
The goal of the 20 November airdrop mission was to provide training that maintains the currency of SAC air crews and ground support personnel in carrying out parachute assisted delivery of material and personnel from the C-17s ensuring the readiness to execute real-world airdrop missions when asked by the SAC nations.
In order to do this, the Heavy Airlift Wing requested for the United States Army paratroopers of the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) to perform jumps from its aircraft and to prepare Container Delivery System (CDS) pallets for a material airdrop. The cargo and the personnel participating in the airdrop boarded a SAC C-17 at Aviano Air Base, Italy and the drop was carried out over Gyulafirátót after a direct flight to Hungary.
During the 20 November mission a total of 53 paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne carried out a static line airdrop from a SAC C-17 and a total of two CDS pallets were delivered to the drop zone established in Gyulafirátót.
The Heavy Airlift Wing has carried out exercise and training with the 173rd Airborne on several occasions since the launch of Strategic Airlift Capability flight operations in 2009 at the request of the SAC member nation the United States.
The 20 November mission was the first occasion when SAC asked the 173rd Airborne to support a training event taking place in the program host nation Hungary.
The 53 paratroopers of the 173rd airborne landing to the Gyulafirátót training range after a static line jump from a SAC C-17 aircraft. Photo: US Army / 173rd Airborne