C-17As train with US, Dutch forces
The Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) unit of the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) programme has carried out air-to-air refuelling training with its C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, US Air Force (USAF) and US Air National Guard (ANG) KC-135 Stratotankers and a KDC-10 Extender from the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF).
The training allows HAW C-17A aircrew to sustain their qualifications to carry out air-to-air refuelling and conduct long-range missions all around the world.
The SAC is a multi-national programme that provides its 12 member nations with assured access to military airlift capability by owning and operating three Boeing C-17 Globemaster III long-range cargo aircraft out of Pápa Air Base, Hungary.
As HAW does not operate any tankers of its own, air-to-air refuelling training is facilitated through several bilateral agreements established by the NATO Airlift Management Programme Office.
Cooperation with the USAF, US ANG and RNLAF is mutually beneficial; HAW pilots receive the necessary training to sustain their air-to-air refuelling qualifications, while the USAF, ANG and RNLAF tanker crews get the opportunity to train with a C-17A.
Lt Col Peer Geelen of the RNLAF said: ‘The SAC nations are our customers, therefore, we have to be able to meet their requirements. Close cooperation with the USAF, the ANG and the RNLAF helps us to maintain air-to-air refuelling capability as cost-effectively as possible.’
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