Coronavirus response: United States transports aid in Italy using NATO’s Rapid Air Mobility initiative

  • 13 May. 2020 -
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  • Last updated: 14 May. 2020 17:20

A United States Air Force Super Hercules C-130J transported medical and other relief supplies between Milan and Rome on Wednesday (13 May 2020), helping Italy with its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The operation helped redistribute more than 15,000 kilograms of supplies, including KN-95 masks, surgical gowns and COVID-19 test kits between Italian distribution hubs. The flight from the US 86th Airlift Wing out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is the first in a planned series of US Air Forces mobility support operations to Italy.

An Italian air force member stands-by as a pallet of medical supplies from Milan, Italy is off-loaded in Rome, May, 13, 2020. In response to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak, an 86th Airlift Wing C-130J Super Hercules assisted the Italian government in transporting medical supplies between supply hubs in Milan and Rome, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristof J. Rixmann)

Wednesday’s flight marked another successful use of NATO’s Rapid Air Mobility (RAM) initiative, activated in March 2020. The RAM initiative simplifies procedures for military relief flights by using a unique NATO call sign to accelerate air traffic control clearances. This initiative is possible because of the close cooperation between NATO and EUROCONTROL.

NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu welcomed the flight, saying: “The United States Air Force’s support for Italy is another demonstration of Allied solidarity in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since the beginning of the crisis, military forces from across the Alliance have helped to transport patients, medical personnel and hundreds of tons of supplies.  The latest use of NATO’s Rapid Air Mobility initiative shows how NATO is taking concrete steps to ensure we can act even more quickly in this crisis.”