NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization

16 Jan. 2010

SAC flies its first humanitarian relief flight to Haiti

The Multinational Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) has conducted a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti on 18 January 2010 delivering first-aid kits and supplies to help Haiti, whose capital Port-au-Prince has been devastated in a massive earthquake.

This was the first humanitarian assistance flight by SAC’s operational arm, The Heavy Airlift Wing based in Pápa Air Base in Hungary. The HAW has flown several operational missions, including flights to support Kosovo Forces and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), but the mission to Haiti is an important milestone for the SAC program.

“This is actually what it's all about. Missions like this to support with humanitarian aid make us proud to be a part of the HAW team”, says Colonel Fredrik Hedén (SwAF) Vice Wing Commander at HAW.

“This is an essential and most urgent task to support with humanitarian aid as soon as possible. Through the effort and cooperation among the 12 SAC nations we are able to contribute faster and more effectively than would have been the case if each nation had acted alone.”

The historic mission was flown in support of Sweden.

“The first mission was requested by Sweden, but there is also aid from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Estonia onboard. The multinational crewmembers were eager to get the mission done and their colleagues in Pápa are working hard to complete the mission”, Colonel Hedén points out.

The multinational consortium was launched only three years ago in order to acquire three C-17 Globemaster III, 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 III 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.

For further information call:
Captain Juha Miettinen, HAW Public Affairs, Tel: +36 30 513 8778

Last updated: 22-Jan-2010 09:58