Strategic Airlift Capability C-17's support exercise Trident Juncture 18. Photo: HAW Archive
The exercise Trident Juncture 18, which is the largest NATO exercise since 2015, takes place in Norway, and includes more than 45,000 troops, representing all NATO nations, including those that are members of the Strategic Airlift Capability program, and Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden.
Trident Juncture 18 is the NATO Response Force 2019 certification exercise for Headquarters Allied Joint Force Command Naples and its designated Component Commands. During the exercise, troops will deploy to central and northern Norway in October 2018, and test the rapid deployment of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and follow on forces.
The NATO Response Force (NRF), established in 2003 as a high readiness force, and is designed to perform a wide variety of tasks. Overall command of the NRF belongs to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). NATO's two Joint Force Commands (based in Brunssum, The Netherlands and Naples, Italy) have operational command of the NRF each year on rotation. The span of command ranges across land, air, and sea domains.
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.