HAW opens new hangar

Wiek Noldus, NATO Support Agency Airlift Management program manager, and U.S. Air Force Col. Trevor Nitz, Heavy Airlift Wing commander, cut a ribbon signifying the grand opening of a new C-17 Globemaster III hangar complex at Pàpa Air Base, Hungary on Nov. 17, 2016. The hangar complex will allow the HAW to perform maintenance on the Strategic Airlift Capability program’s three C-17s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystal Ardrey)

Wiek Noldus, NATO Support Agency Airlift Management program manager, and U.S. Air Force Col. Trevor Nitz, Heavy Airlift Wing commander, cut a ribbon signifying the grand opening of a new C-17 Globemaster III hangar complex at Pàpa Air Base, Hungary on Nov. 17, 2016. The hangar complex will allow the HAW to perform maintenance on the Strategic Airlift Capability program’s three C-17s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystal Ardrey)

U.S. Air Force Col. Trevor Nitz, Heavy Airlift Wing commander, speaks during a C-17 Globemaster III hangar complex grand opening at Pàpa Air Base, Hungary on Nov. 17, 2016. The first-of-its-kind hangar complex provides space to wash and paint the three C-17s stationed at the HAW, and allows fuel cell, operational and routine maintenance to be performed at any time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystal Ardrey)

U.S. Air Force Col. Trevor Nitz, Heavy Airlift Wing commander, speaks during a C-17 Globemaster III hangar complex grand opening at Pàpa Air Base, Hungary on Nov. 17, 2016. The first-of-its-kind hangar complex provides space to wash and paint the three C-17s stationed at the HAW, and allows fuel cell, operational and routine maintenance to be performed at any time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystal Ardrey)

A Swedish Armed Forces Parachute Unit paratrooper performs a parachute demonstration during the C-17 Globemaster III grand opening at Pàpa Air Base, Hungary on Nov. 17, 2016. The Swedish paratroopers demonstrated the HAWs ability to insert special forces units into hostile environments through their fleet of three C-17 Globemaster IIIs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystal Ardrey)

A Swedish Armed Forces Parachute Unit paratrooper performs a parachute demonstration during the C-17 Globemaster III grand opening at Pàpa Air Base, Hungary on Nov. 17, 2016. The Swedish paratroopers demonstrated the HAWs ability to insert special forces units into hostile environments through their fleet of three C-17 Globemaster IIIs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystal Ardrey)

A C-17 Globemaster III drops 32 bundles of cargo during a demonstration at the C-17 hangar complex grand opening at Pàpa Air Base, Hungary on Nov. 17, 2016. The new hangar complex will allow the Heavy Airlift Wing to more efficiently maintain their C-17s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystal Ardrey)

A C-17 Globemaster III drops 32 bundles of cargo during a demonstration at the C-17 hangar complex grand opening at Pàpa Air Base, Hungary on Nov. 17, 2016. The new hangar complex will allow the Heavy Airlift Wing to more efficiently maintain their C-17s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystal Ardrey)

PÀPA AIR BASE, Hungary --

Three years of construction culminated with a grand opening ceremony for a C-17 Globemaster III hangar complex at Pàpa Air Base, Hungary on Nov. 17, 2016.

 

The first-of-its-kind hangar complex provides space to wash and paint the HAW’s three C-17s, and allows fuel cell, operational and routine maintenance to be performed at any time.

 

“Already in the last month, this facility has eliminated the need to travel to the United States for our reoccurring intermediate level maintenance,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Trevor Nitz, Heavy Airlift Wing commander. “[This complex] saves us time, money, flying hours, and increases our operational capacity.”

 

The complex includes more than just a multi-functional hangar. It also includes a climate-controlled supply warehouse, a state-of-the-art vehicle maintenance workshop, an aerial port for storing transient cargo, and an office building.

 

“[The office’s] design facilitates better communication and coordination,” said Nitz. “This in itself has already increased our effectiveness and enhanced our processes.”

 

The HAW’s roughly 250 military members from 10 NATO and two partner nations, will benefit from the complex, which supports the Strategic Airlift Capability program. Of the 250 military members, approximately 60 are U.S. Air Force Airmen, five of which are assigned, but geographically separated from Aviano Air Base, Italy.

 

“The SAC program is even more than a trans-Atlantic teamwork in action,” said Ernest J. Herold, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment. “This program epitomizes the key features of our alliance, a focus on operations, improved capabilities, and working in cooperation with other institutions. This kind of cooperation benefits NATO, participating allies, partners and it surely benefits the recipients of countless support deployments all over the world.”

 

The 12 nations who compose the SAC have all entered a 30-year agreement to work together and share the three C-17s. This allows many smaller nations to have access to the capabilities of the C-17 they might not otherwise have. It also serves as the U.S. Air Force’s only C-17s based in the European continent, which enables a quicker world-wide response time for operations and humanitarian relief missions.

 

Wiek Noldus, NATO Support Agency Airlift Management program manager, explained that this infrastructure development project began in 2013 to allow the participating nations to have these capabilities.

 

“The very ambitious plan was to complete all construction before the end of 2016,” said Noldus. “Here we are today and the total project is almost fully completed. All delivered as planned within time and within budget, a really big compliment to all involved.”

 

To continue increasing their capabilities, the HAW recently broke ground on a staging area for their 38 vehicles, and hopes to build a training simulator facility in the future.