NATO Airlift Management (NAM) Programme and US partners review "Smart Support"

07 June 2013

From 21 through 23 May, Mr Wiek NOLDUS, NATO Airlift Management (NAM) Programme Manager chaired a meeting between NAM Programme and its partners from the United States (US) at Pápa Air Base.

The US delegation consisted of representatives of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) C-17 Division, Air Force Security Assistance Center (AFSAC) and Air Force Security Assistance Training Squadron (AFSAT). The NAM Programme is an integral part of NSPA and owns three Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIIs, a large military transport aircraft, on behalf of the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) participating nations.

After introductions by the chairman an update was provided by Col. Andrew INGRAM (USAF), Director C-17 Programme (USAF and FMS) on the influence of fiscal austerity on the C-17 Programme and on sequestration of the C-17 weapon system. At the core of the NAM Programme’s ground breaking support to the weapon system is their membership in the C-17 ‘Virtual Fleet’. Members also include Australia, Britain, Canada, Kuwait, India, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and the USA. The Virtual Fleet solution is an award-winning, ultra-efficient, low-risk solution that enables the NAM Programme to sustain more than 90% aircraft availability to the Heavy Airlift Wing, the multinational military unit that operates the aircraft, and to provide them with a true world-wide support network. At the centre of this concept is one common technical configuration of the aircraft allowing parts and personnel to be exchanged between aircraft of individual countries and those of the NAM Programme, which creates one worldwide operating fleet of C-17’s.

Later, participants discussed the SAC Fleet Development Plan. This plan contains the schedule for Heavy Maintenance of the aircraft, to include installation of the Large Aircraft Infrared Counter-Measure system (LAIRCM) and Communication, Surveillance & Navigation Systems. Based on the actual usage and loads inflicted on the airframe the lifetime of the aircraft can be predicted.  Early analyses show the aircraft lifetime can be extended substantially. Also the relocation in 2014 of the USAF C-17 Programme from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to Robbins Air Force Base was discussed. As a result of this relocation, the NAM Integrated Project Team (IPT) will also relocate to Robbins Air Force Base. Finally, as part of the review, the safety status and status of incidents was discussed and, compared to other weapon systems, the C-17 has an excellent track record.

On the last day, a thorough review of NAM Programme’s current Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases was done. Through FMS the United States Department of Defense facilitates Acquisition, Training and Sustainment for the SAC. In the review process, the actual situation is compared to the planning, to check if amendments or changes have to be made. Delivery of hardware and services is planned based on forecasted and estimated activities. The NAM Programme is currently in the process of opening a new FMS case for the acquisition of a Large Aircraft Infrared Counter-Measure system (LAIRCM) for its three C-17 Globemaster III aircraft stationed at Pápa Air Base, Hungary.