Air Force Secretary Michael Donley met US airmen and contractors assigned to the multinational Strategic Airlift Capability’s Heavy Airlift Wing at Pápa AB, Hungary, this week. He also met with HAW leadership. “This is a very unique and exciting program,” said Donley, addressing roughly 40 USAF personnel at the base in an airmen’s call on July 11. “You’re showing the international community that this approach is vital and that by pooling resources, it can be done. You’re building partnership capacity and relationships here that will pay dividends for our Air Force and international partnerships for many years to come,” he added. Since activating in 2009, the HAW fleet has grown to three C-17 transports, jointly operated by 12 partner countries. Though painted in Hungarian colors, airmen from 10 NATO and two NATO Partnerships for Peace countries operate and maintain the aircraft. (Pápa report by MSgt. Wayne Clark) (See also C-17s in Hungary from Air Force Magazine’s archives.)
The Air Force pointed out numerous operational and programmatic effects from Congress' inability to approve fiscal 2022 funding. These include hits to programs already underway as well as 16 new starts, plus seven military construction projects. Readiness also is suffering because the funding limits maintenance and exercises.