PICTURES: Boeing delivers first C-17 for NATO-led Heavy Airlift Wing

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Boeing has delivered the first C-17 under NATO's Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) programme, with aircraft 01 scheduled to arrive at Hungary's Papa air base ahead of a formal introduction ceremony to be held on 27 July.

A delivery event at Boeing's Long Beach production facility in California on 14 July saw the C-17 accepted for the SAC's 12-nation Heavy Airlift Wing. The partnership includes NATO members Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the USA, plus Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden.

 
© Boeing

To be operated from Papa AB on a pooled basis from late this month, the aircraft will be flown and maintained by multinational crews drawn from the participating nations. In-service and logistics support will be provided through Boeing's Globemaster Sustainment Program, with the NATO Airlift Management Agency expecting the C-17 fleet to remain in use for almost 30 years.

 
© Boeing

"We look forward to our first mission," says US Air Force Col John Zazworsky, commander of the Heavy Airlift Wing. The C-17s will deliver "advanced airlift capabilities that will save lives around the world", he adds.

NATO's remaining two C-17s - including one funded by the USA - will be handed over during September and October, says Boeing.