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Strategic Airlift Capability conducts first flight in support of ISAF

9/30/2009 - PAPA AIR BASE, Hungary (AFNS) -- Members of the Strategic Airlift Capability conducted its first mission in support of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan Sept. 29.

The first ISAF-related flight by SAC's operational component, the Heavy Airlift Wing based in Papa Air Base in Hungary, delivered materiel to Mazar-e Sharif, to supply Swedish troops in the Afghan theater.

The HAW has already flown several operational missions, including flights to support Kosovo Forces, but the first trip to Afghanistan was an important milestone for the SAC program, which was launched three years ago in order to acquire three C-17 Globemaster III, to meet strategic airlift requirements of the 10 participating member nations.

"The first mission to Afghanistan is a big step forward for the efforts of the SAC nations, including both NATO and (European Union) members, to address a critical shortfall in strategic lift," said Peter Flory, the NATO assistant secretary general for defence investment.

"This is what it's all about, conducting missions for our member nations. It is a team effort and I am very proud of the close cooperation among the 12 nations within Heavy Airlift Wing and NATO Airlift Management Agency," said Swedish air force Col. Fredrik Heden, the HAW vice wing commander.

The C-17 aircraft meets the strategic airlift requirements of the SAC member nations for national missions, including missions in support of NATO, the EU and the United Nations.

The first SAC C-17 Globemaster III was delivered to Papa Air Base July 27, and the second C-17 arrived Sept. 21. The third SAC aircraft, which is scheduled to be delivered in October 2009, will complete the projected SAC C-17 fleet.

The SAC currently comprises 10 NATO and two Partnership for Peace nations including Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Romania and the United States.

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