The Boeing Company delivered a third C-17 Globemaster III to the NATO Airlift Management Organization (NAMO) in support of NAMO's 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) initiative. The delivery, which took place at Boeing's final assembly facility in Long Beach, completes SAC's first fleet of the advanced airlifters.
Assigned to SAC's Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) at Pápa Air Base in western Hungary, SAC 03 will support International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan as well as the airlift requirements of SAC member nations.
"The delivery of SAC's third C-17 fulfills a vision that came to life three years ago," the HAW's wing commander, U.S. Air Force Col. John Zazworsky, said to Boeing employees at the delivery ceremony. "A vision that 12 nations could form a unique partnership to jointly own and operate the world's most advanced airlifter to save lives and to meet their critical airlift requirements. We've done it, and with unparalleled cooperation."
Jean Chamberlin, Boeing vice president and general manager, Global Mobility Systems, offered the company's best wishes to Zazworsky and the SAC nations "as you deploy the C-17's tremendous capabilities while supporting humanitarian, disaster-relief and peacekeeping missions."
"On behalf of all our C-17 employees and suppliers, always remember that wherever the SAC C-17s go, whatever the mission, you will have our support," Chamberlin added.
The HAW, which was activated on July 27, conducted its first mission to Afghanistan in September when it delivered materiel to Mazar-e-Sharif to supply Swedish troops. The wing had already flown several operational missions, including flights to support Kosovo Force troops in Kosovo. The first trip to Afghanistan, however, was a particularly important milestone for the SAC program, which was launched three years ago to acquire three C-17s to meet member nations' strategic airlift requirements.
The SAC group includes 10 NATO nations -- Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, United States -- and Partnership for Peace members Sweden and Finland. They will share acquisition and operating costs for the fleet of three C-17s over a nearly 30-year agreement.
NAMA is responsible for the acquisition, day-to-day management, and support of the C-17 fleet on behalf of NATO and all participating SAC nations. A Boeing team based at Pápa provides additional support for the SAC C-17s, including material management and depot maintenance support, under Boeing Global Services & Support's C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership.
A total of 19 C-17s are in service with international customers, including the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Canadian Defence Forces, the SAC consortium, and Qatar. Later this year, Boeing anticipates an order from the United Arab Emirates. The company also has delivered 189 of 213 contracted C-17s to the U.S. Air Force.