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birth of the Strategic Airlift Capability


How did it happen?

In 2008, 12 Nations founded the Strategic Airlift Capability by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). 

They agreed to jointly acquire three Globemaster C-17-s, to jointly operate them, and to share costs, resources, and flight hours. Member Nations decided to use NATO as a legal entity for acquisition, management, and sustainment of the aircraft, and for supporting the multinational military Heavy Airlift Wing stationed at Pápa Air Base, Hungary.

Hungary, one of the Member Nations, offered to register the aircraft in Hungary, under Hungarian insignia, along with providing the program its Home Base at Pápa Air Base, Hungary.




What are they for?

The governance of the Strategic Airlift Capability is organized through two cooperating structures,


Strategic Airlift Capability Steering Board 

and the 

NATO Airlift Management Programme Board.

SAC Steering Board and the NAM Programme Board are the independent governing bodies of the SAC program. The boards consisting of the representatives of the member nations meet bi-annually.


Strategic Airlift Capability Steering Board

  • Representatives of 12 SAC Member Nations
  • Meeting bi-annualy
  • Defines requests


NATO Airlift Management Programme Board

  • Representatives of 12 Member Nations
  • Meeting bi-annually
  • Close coordination with SAC Steering Board
  • Processes requests


Customer and the Provider


Who provides what?


The symbotic relationship between NAM and SAC can simply be described as one between a customer (SAC) and a provider (NAM Programme).

SAC sets requirements and the NAM Programme executes those requirements. At the head of each of the two organisations sits a decision-making body, the SAC Steering Board and the NAM Programme Board, respectively. Of necessity the two boards regularly consult with each other. This is facilitated by meeting in combined session, and by sharing the same Secretariat. In line with the NSPO Charter, the Secretariat is independent and funded at 30 nations. It is ultimately responsible to the Chairperson of the NSPO Agency Supervisory Board (ASB).