Finnish troops re-deploying from Exercise Cold Response 2016 enter a SAC C-17 at Værnes Air Station on 9 March. Photo: Finnish Army.
Arranged every other year, Cold Response is the main winter exercise of the Norwegian Armed Forces. As the host nation of the exercise, Norway welcomes its partners to participate. Challenging winter conditions in Norway enable the participating nations to test their winter warfare plans and tactics. Of course, the exercise is also a great opportunity to enhance multinational military cooperation and interoperability.
In terms of logistics, it is a huge challenge to deploy troops and equipment to Trøndelag from all over Europe. For six countries participating in Exercise Cold Response 2016, the 12-nation SAC program is part of their solution. The jointly owned Boeing C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft provide a cost-effective means of transporting troops and equipment to and from Exercise Cold Response 2016. Indeed, SAC C-17s were already a regular sight at Værnes Air Station during the preparation phase of the exercise, from 19 February to 1 March. Operated by the multinational Heavy Airlift Wing, the aircraft carry the national insignia of Hungary, the host nation of the SAC program.
A SAC C-17 at Værnes Air Station on 9 March. Photo: Finnish Army.
From 9 to 13 March, two of the three SAC C-17s support the closing phase of Exercise Cold Response 2016. Thanks to the efforts of the members of the HAW Command and Control Squadron (C2S), airlift requests from Finland, Norway, Latvia, Poland, Sweden and the United States have been successfully combined into two continuous airlift missions. During these missions, the two C-17s transport troops and equipment from Værnes Air Station to seven destinations in six countries, flying a total of 21 sorties. In addition to more than 1,100 troops, the two aircraft carry 26 cargo pallets, a Bell 412 helicopter as well as multiple other vehicles and containers.
The combined missions highlight what can be achieved with the pooling and sharing of Euro-Atlantic strategic airlift assets. SAC member nations can deploy and re-deploy their forces both quickly and cost-effectively, and the multinational HAW aircrews receive valuable experience on how to operate in the winter conditions of Exercise Cold Response 2016.
About Exercise Cold Response 2016
Read more about Exercise Cold Response from Norwegian Armed Forces' website:
About the Strategic Airlift Capability
The Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), established in 2008, is an independent and multinational program that provides access to military airlift capability to its 12 partner nations by owning and operating three Boeing C-17 Globemaster III long-range cargo jets.
SAC is based at the Hungarian Defence 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-17s to serve the needs of their national defense, NATO, EU or UN commitments and humanitarian relief efforts.
SAC organizations consist of the operational arm, the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) and the NATO Airlift Management Programme Office (NAM PO) that is the acquisition and sustainment authority of the SAC C-17 weapon system. It also provides site and administrational support to the HAW. NAM PO is an integral part of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA).
The Boeing Company is contracted by the NAM PO to provide technical support for the C-17 aircraft.