Today's image of the day comes via a Boeing press release:
LONG BEACH, Calif., July 14, 2009 - The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today delivered the first Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) C-17 Globemaster III during a ceremony at its final assembly facility in Long Beach, paving the way for the advanced airlifter's historic arrival at Pápa Air Base, Hungary, later this month. The SAC's approach to shared use of the strategic airlifter is regarded as a model for the pooled acquisition and management of defense capabilities.
The SAC group 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 the eventual fleet of three C-17s over the nearly 30-year agreement.
The first SAC C-17 will arrive at Pápa Air Base just prior to the activation of the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) on July 27. Boeing will deliver the two remaining C-17s in September and October.
The SAC's first C-17 bears the number 01 on its nose, symbolizing the first aircraft delivered to the SAC group. Because Hungary is the host nation for the HAW, the airlifter's tail is marked with red, white and green stripes. The air base's name, "PAPA," is painted on a blue background that runs across the vertical stabilizer. The HAW will be operated by multinational crews from the 12 participating nations.