Paratroopers waiting to up-load the SAC C-17. Photo: HAW / Hans Björkman
From 19 to 21 September, the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW), the operational unit of the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), supported SAC member nations Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, and the United States, participating in exercise Saber Junction 18.
The C-17 from the Heavy Airlift wing performed Air Drop operations with close to a hundred paratroopers, eleven platforms with heavy equipment, and a number of Container Delivery System (CDS) bundles.
Nearly 5,500 participants from 20 nations participates in Saber Junction 18 at the U.S. Army's Grafenwöhr and Hohenfels Training Areas in Germany, 4 September to 4 October.
The Saber Junction exercise is designed to assess the readiness of the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade to execute land operations in a joint, combined environment and to promote interoperability with participating allies and partner nations.
Participating nations in Saber Junction 18: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Except for support from the Strategic Airlift Capability, Heavy Airlift Wing, the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard also supports the exercise by providing personnel Air Drop and air land support of airfield seizure.
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.