First SAC C-17 arrives in San Antonio for depot maintenance

18 August 2014

The first Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft arrived at the Boeing Global Services & Support (GS&S) San Antonio maintenance facility for its first quinquennial depot-level maintenance.

On behalf of the SAC member nations, the NATO Airlift Management (NAM) Programme owns three of these type of aircraft. SAC 01 is the first aircraft to go through this type of maintenance since SAC flight operations began in July 2009. SAC 02 and SAC 03 will follow later in October 2014 and March 2015 respectively.

Due to this scheduled maintenance the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW), the operational arm of SAC, is only able to fly a part of the projected yearly 3165 flying hours. As this will remain a challenge for the future, the NAM Programme was tasked by the SAC Steering Board to look into options to provide additional aircraft capacity to the HAW (i.e. Backup Aircraft Inventory) by establishing cooperation with another C-17 operational unit.

The depot-level maintenance is monitored on behalf of the NAM Programme by the NAM Integrated Programme Team (IPT). The IPT has been moved from Dayton, Ohio and is now collocated with the US Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) Air Force Logistics Management Center (AFLMC) at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, USA. The IPT in general is responsible for developing and analysing technical advisories, design changes or proposals for repairs concerning the C-17 Weapon System.

C-17 sustainment services are provided by Boeing for all the C-17 ‘Virtual Fleet’ partners through the Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) contract. This contract between USAF and Boeing facilitates economic sustainability for smaller C-17 fleets, like the fleet of SAC. It provides unparalleled opportunities for interoperability, based on one common technical configuration of the aircraft. It also allows parts and personnel to be exchanged between aircraft of members, creating one worldwide operating fleet of C-17’s.  The current members in the C-17 Virtual Fleet are the NAM Programme, Australia, Britain, Canada, Kuwait, India, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and the USA.