Strategic Airlift Capability Interim Cargo Facility inaugurated at Pápa Air Base, Hungary

12 February 2014

On 29 January, a ribbon cutting ceremony inaugurating the new Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) Interim Cargo Facility took place at Pápa Air Base, Hungary. The ceremony took place under the leadership of Mr László Szarvas, Assistant Programme Manager of the NATO Airlift Management (NAM) Programme Office, and Colonel Frank Rombouts, Commander of the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW), representing the two organisations which jointly deliver strategic airlift for SAC participating nations.

The NAM Programme Office, an integral part of the NATO Support Agency, acquires, manages, and sustains SAC C-17 Globemaster III transportation aircraft and other aeronautical products, and provides site/administrative support to the HAW at Pápa Air Base. Execution of the SAC missions is the sole responsibility of the HAW.

The construction work of the Interim Cargo Facility at Pápa Air Base, Hungary, began with a groundbreaking ceremony on 1 July 2013 attended by Mr Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO Secretary General, and the Minister of Defence of Hungary, Mr Csaba Hende. The facility consists of a 1800 m2 heated tent building with aluminum support structure, fencing, a vehicle maneuvering area and roads connecting the facility to the taxiways of the base and received its technical acceptance and occupation permit in January. “Today we will hand over a new facility, which brings significant additional capability to the SAC Program and Pápa Air Base. This new transient cargo storage facility enables even more efficient use of the SAC C-17 fleet and provides proper working environment for the Aerial Port personnel of the HAW’s Logistics Support Squadron”, stated Mr Szarvas.

The Interim Cargo Facility was designed by UVATERV Zrt.  and the construction was carried out by STRABAG Zrt. The project, managed by the NAM Programme Office, was constructed at an overall cost of 1.26 MUSD, funded by the 12 SAC member nations. The construction of connecting roads was partially funded by the Hungarian Ministry of Defense as a part of the Pápa Air Base development plan.

The most significant infrastructure development project funded by the SAC nations is the construction of the SAC permanent facilities that are scheduled to be completed in 2016. The project contains construction of a C-17 size maintenance hangar, back shops and new offices for the HAW, the NAM Programme Office and the Boeing Company, the contractor that provides maintenance to the aircraft. The new facilities will provide as a cost effective solution for logistics operations and delivering cargo for the SAC participating nations. Currently the SAC participants consist of the NATO members Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States and NATO Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden.