The participants in the SAC include ten NATO nations (Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States) and two Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations (Finland and Sweden).
Operational since 2009, these strategic lift aircraft are to be used for national, NATO, UN or EU missions, or for other international purposes (e.g. humanitarian airlift and disaster relief) as agreed by the nations.
The SAC has flown several operational missions, including flights to support Kosovo Forces and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). It has also conducted humanitarian relief mission to Haiti on 18, 21 and 02 february 2010.
Facts and Figures
· The C-17 Globemaster III is a large strategic transport aircraft capable of carrying 77 000 kilograms of cargo over 2400 nautical miles (4 450 kilometers) and which is able to operate in difficult environments.
· The fleet of three aircraft is based at Papa Airbase in Hungary.
· They are flown and maintained by multinational aircrews under the command of a multinational military structure - the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW). The Commander of the HAW is a US Air Force officer and his Deputy Commander is a Swedish Air Force officer. The HAW is manned by personnel from all participating nations.
· The planes are configured and equipped to the same general standard as C-17s operated by the US Air Force, the UK Royal Air Force and the Canadian Air Force.
Because Strategic Airlift is a key capability for the Alliance, ten NATO countries plus two Partner countries have confirmed in September 2008 their participation in Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) initiative for the acquisition and sustainment of three Boeing C-17 strategic transport aircraft.
This is one of three complementary initiatives aimed at providing NATO nations with strategic airlift capabilities. A second initiative is the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS), under which a multinational consortium of 18 countries has contracted a civilian company for the charter of Antonov An-124-100 transport aircraft. And lastly there are national procurement programmes in place. Seven NATO nations are acquiring A400M aircraft, while three NATO nations (Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States)have purchased C-17s for national use.