On December 6 NATO military transporter C-17 „Boeing Globemaster III" jointly purchased by the Allies (including Lithuania) participating in the NATO's Strategic Airlift Capability Programme. C-17 will bring from Afghanistan cargo of the Lithuanian Armed Forces: equipment and military materiel of Lithuanian troops deployed on NATO operation, totally around 21 tones.
The multilateral agreement of creating strategic (i.e. long range) airlift capabilities by purchasing thee C-17 aircrafts was signed by 10 NATO countries - Bulgaria, Estonia, the USA, Poland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary - and two NATO partners Finland and Sweden. The agreement that came into force in October 2008 regulates the purchased air assets permanently based in Papa Airbase, Hungary, will be used by parties to the agreement for the full spectrum of NATO and the EU-led international operations - military, humanitarian, etc. The aircrafts will be operated by international crews made of representatives of 12 nationalities. Lithuania is represented by Sgt. Mindaugas Šalkauskas, loadmaster of C-17.
Aircraft C-17 is capable of deploying a big military contingent (to 150 troops) without landing and carry heavy loads (maximum weight - 78 t).
As part of the Strategic Airlift Capability Programme Lithuania has the right of 45 annual flight hours for transportation of shipments to its mission areas; participants of the programme also contributed to pooling joint NATO air capabilities.
The first strategic airlifter C-17 was deployed in Papa Airbase in July 2009; all the three aircrafts entered operation under the programme in November.
C-17 is planned to land in Šiauliai Airfield at 11.45 hrs. To access the event media representatives should register before December 4 15.00 hrs with LAF Aviation Base at (8 41) 592 151.
- Arrival of the first C-17 to Papa Airbase. Copyright: Magyar Honvéd.
- Member of the international C-17 crew, onboard operator, Sgt. (Lithuanian Armed Forces) Mindaugas Šalkauskas. Picture of the Aviation Base.