PICTURES: Multinational C-17 wing flies first relief mission to Haiti

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A multinational group of NATO and Partnership for Peace states has performed its first humanitarian relief flight with the Boeing C-17 strategic transport, delivering first aid and other supplies to Haiti on 18 January.

Operated by the 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) consortium's Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) from Papa air base in Hungary, the aircraft was flown to Port au Prince in support of a major relief operation launched in response to last week's major earthquake.

"The mission to Haiti is an important milestone for the SAC programme," says the organisation's vice-wing commander, Swedish air force Col Fredrik Hedén.

"Through the effort and co-operation 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."

Sweden requested the flight, but Hedén says the mission was also supported by equipment donations from Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Norway. The C-17 was flown by an international crew for the sortie.

 

Both images © Heavy Airlift Wing

The SAC group received its three C-17s between July and October 2009, and has previously used the fleet for tasks including delivering support for coalition forces in Afghanistan and for peacekeeping activities in Kosovo.

Other nations involved in the HAW framework are Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Romania and the USA.