Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) C-17 aircrews will soon begin training on Boeing-owned simulators in the UK under an $8 million contract negotiated by the US Air Force.

Boeing says pilots and loadmasters of the Hungary-based Heavy Airlift Wing have until now trained on simulators in the USA, but they will now receive instruction closer to home at its international C-17 training site in Farnborough, Hampshire. The manufacturer says its UK-based training programme is designed to USAF standards and certifications, and has been certified by the Hungarian National Transport Authority.

NATO says the four-year arrangement was finalised in late December, as an amendment to the SAC C-17 foreign military sales case.

“Boeing met the customer need to have access to affordable, high-quality training for aircrews from smaller countries with limited resources,” says the company's C-17 training programme manager, Larry Sisco. “Having regional training is a big cost and time saving for the SAC programme.”

The 12-member SAC group’s three C-17s were delivered in 2009 and are based at Pápa air base. The aircraft regularly carry out humanitarian and military airlift missions in support of NATO, the EU and the UN.

SAC C-17 - US Air Force

US Air Force

The strategic transports augment the airlift capacity of Canadian, UK and US C-17s, European Airbus Defence & Space A400Ms and chartered Antonov An-124-100s.

Boeing assembled 279 C-17s between 1991 and 2015, and Pratt & Whitney recently delivered the type’s final F117 high-bypass turbofan engine. There are 32 C-17 aircrew training simulators installed at sites around the globe, also including Australia, India and the United Arab Emirates.