Wednesday, March 18, 2009

'Major Join' Ceremony for 12-Nation Strategic Airlift Capability's 1st C-17

On March 13, Boeing marked the "major join" ceremony for the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) consortium's first C-17 Globemaster III, an acquisition of three C-17s, one of which will be provided by the United States.

During major join, the C-17 airlifter's four major sections -- the forward, center and aft fuselages and wing assembly -- are integrated, and the aircraft begins to look like a C-17 for the first time.

Hungary has agreed to both host the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) at Pápa Air Base, where a total of three C-17s will be based, and to register the aircraft under the Hungarian flag.

SAC 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 three C-17s over the nearly 30-year course of the agreement.

The C-17 is the only tactical aircraft capable of performing all SAC airlift missions, including strategic, tactical, military and humanitarian missions, as well as brigade airdrops, aeromedical evacuations, and landings and takeoffs from standard runways or austere airfields.

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