The Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) consortium’s third C-17A Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft has completed the scheduled depot level maintenance work at the Boeing Aerospace Support Centre in San Antonio, Texas, US.
Designated SAC-03, the aircraft returned to full operational status with Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) after the one year-long programme, called 10+ MUSD, and flew back to Papa Air Base, Hungary.
Based at Papa Air Base, HAW is a part of SAC consortium, which purchased and operates three C-17A Globemaster III aircraft. The consortium consists of 12 partner nations.
NAM Integrated Project Team (IPT) leader and SAC C-17A Type technical manager Trevor Burke said: "SAC’s C-17A are now at the top-level ‘Block 19’ standard for C-17A and have modifications that prepare them to meet the mandatory deadlines set by Europe (Single European Skies initiative) and the USA (Next Gen initiative) for the global modernisation of all air traffic management systems."
During the scheduled depot level maintenance process, all the C-17A’s flight controls are removed and refurbished, its structure and systems are inspected, and the whole aircraft is repainted.
In addition, the four-month downtime per aircraft adds modifications that provide new capabilities, which pre-empt many perennial problems otherwise caused by parts-obsolescence.
Each C-17A undergoes depot maintenance and modifications every five years, to help ensure its continued safety, sustain its record availability rates and preserve full interoperability between the global 272 flying aircraft.
Having started planning and budgeting for the project in 2011, the Nato Airlift Management (NAM) Programme Office started working the Hungarian National Transport Authority, the HAW, the US Air Force and their contractor, Boeing, from 2013 onwards.
The NAM IPT managed the whole programme, including tracking the daily progress and approving the inevitable small work adjustments and payments, and finally accepting the refurbished aircraft.
Image: The return of SAC-03 represents completion of the first cycle of the SAC C-17 fleet scheduled depot-level maintenance. Photo: courtesy of HAW.