The 12-nation Heavy Airlift Wing formed in July 2009 at Papa AB, Hungary to jointly operate three C-17 airlifters under the Strategic Airlift Capability arrangement has reached 1,000 flying hours with a Feb. 12 mission returning from Afghanistan. The HAW flew its first mission to Afghanistan in October 2009 and followed with a first mission to Iraq in December. The unit has also flown missions to support NATO forces in Kosovo and has participated in the international relief operations in Haiti, following the devastating Jan. 12 7.0 magnitude earthquake. USAF Col. John Zazworsky, HAW commander, said, “We have been able to transition safely from planning to high operations tempo in a very short time because of great teamwork among the Boeing training system and maintenance, NATO Airlift Management Agency, our host base, and the airmen of the HAW.” (HAW Feb. 15 release; also read HAW Feb. 9 report on Haiti support by Capt. Juha Miettinen)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.