Dump truck and bulldozer being loaded to the SAC C-17 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Photo: HAW / TSgt Christian van Pol (RNLAF)
The airdrop mission was conducted in order to support the 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade. Exercise Dagger Resolve has offered airborne engineers from 54th BEB an opportunity to gain valuable experience in airfield assessment, clearance and repair.
The 33,000 lb (15,000 kg) dump truck and the 21,000 lb (9,500 kg) bulldozer were loaded on the SAC C-17 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The vehicles were attached to huge aerial delivery pallets and rigged with several parachutes in order to ensure safe release.
Cargo door open above the Hohenfels Training Area Drop Zone in Germany. Photo: HAW / TSgt Christian van Pol (RNLAF)
After completing the airdrop above Hohenfels Training Area Drop Zone in Germany, the aircraft headed back to Aviano Air Base. From there, the C-17 returned to its home base in Pápa, Hungary. The 173rd Airborne Brigade is a regular training partner of SAC's operative unit, the Heavy Airlift Wing. However, this time the payload was heavier than normal.
Captain Michael Hank (USAF), a C-17 pilot and Chief of Wing Tactics at the HAW, emphasizes that the dump truck and the bulldozer were among the largest items delivered on SAC airdrop missions to date. According to him, successful airdrops of heavy vehicles highlight the SAC ability to support both military operations and humanitarian relief.
Bulldozer on its way out of the cargo door. Photo: HAW / TSgt Christian van Pol (RNLAF)
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 (NAM) Programme Office that is the acquisition and sustainment authority of the SAC C-17 weapon system. It also provides site and administrational support to the HAW.
The Boeing Company is contracted by SAC to provide technical support for the C-17 aircraft.
Text: HAW / OF-1 Tuomas Saavalainen