BELGIUM–(ENEWSPF)–February 3, 2010. The Multinational Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) has conducted its third humanitarian relief mission to Haiti on 2 February 2010, flown by SAC’s operational arm, the Heavy Airlift Wing based in Pápa Air Base in Hungary.
The flight delivered supplies to Haiti in response to a massive earthquake that struck the island nation on January 12. The load consisted of equipment and material from Estonia, Finland and Sweden to supply and construct a camp for aid workers at the airport of Port-au-Prince.
All three missions were flown in support of requests from Sweden.
In addition there were also supplies donated by Bulgaria on board. These supplies were transported by the Bulgarian Air Force to Pápa Air Base, then prepared for onward movement to combine with other cargo being assembled in Sweden. Only the host nation of Hungary has moved cargo directly out of Pápa before, so the cargo transfer made this mission the first true cargo hub operation of the SAC program.
“On a wider scale this is a small event, but for SAC this is an important milestone,” said Colonel John Zazworsky (USAF), Commander of the Heavy Airlift Wing and pilot in command of this mission. “It is a step towards where we want to be in the future: conducting airlift in the most efficient way possible for partner nations.”
“Pápa Air Base has great potential to become a big cargo hub, where the participating nations of the SAC program will deliver and store material to be further delivered by the Heavy Airlift Wing to their final destinations all over the world,” Colonel Zazworsky envisaged.
The HAW’s first load of relief supplies was delivered to Haiti on January 18. The flight delivered aid workers from Sweden and equipment from Estonia, Finland, Denmark and Norway. The wing delivered a second load of supplies on January 21.
The multinational Strategic Airlift Capability consortium was launched three years ago in order to acquire three C-17 Globemaster III cargo planes, to meet strategic airlift requirements of participating nations for national missions, including missions in support of NATO, the EU and the United Nations.
The first SAC C-17 Globemaster was delivered to Pápa Air Base in July 2009, and the second C-17 arrived in September. The third SAC aircraft was delivered in October 2009.
The SAC participating nations include 10 NATO nations, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Romania and the United States, and two Partnership for Peace nations, Finland and Sweden.