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Air-to-Air Refuelling Training Through Multinational Cooperation Operations.

Florence, Italy, August 03, 2016 --( The Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW), the operational unit of the 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), maintains constant readiness to execute airlift missions all around the world with its Boeing C-17A Globemaster III aircraft. Thus, it is vital for HAW C-17A aircraft commanders to sustain their qualifications to carry out air-to-air refuelling. The HAW, operating three C-17As out of Papa Air Base, Hungary, executes airlift missions requested by the 12 member nations of the SAC. In order to be able to carry out long-range missions all around the world, HAW aircraft commanders have to practice air-to-air refuelling regularly. As the HAW does not operate any tankers of its own, air-to-air refuelling training is facilitated through several bilateral agreements established by the NATO Airlift Management Programme Office (NAM PO). "As the acquisition and sustainment authority of the SAC C-17A weapon system, the NAM PO manages the agreements which provide the HAW aircrews with access to air-to-air refuelling training," explains Mr. Bart Hummel, the NAM PO Branch Chief for Logistics and Mission Support.

HAW aircrews receive their C-17A simulator training at the Boeing Defence UK facility in Farnborough, the United Kingdom. In order to provide the pilots an opportunity to train refuelling in the air, the HAW cooperates closely with the United States Air Force (USAF), the United States Air National Guard (ANG) and the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). Cooperation is mutually beneficial; HAW pilots receive the necessary training to sustain their air-to-air refuelling qualifications, while the USAF, ANG and RNLAF tanker crews get the opportunity to train with a C-17A. At the moment, the HAW trains air-to-air refuelling with tankers from the 100th Air Refuelling Wing (100 ARW), USAF, based at RAF Mildenhall, the United Kingdom; the 334 Transport Squadron (334 Sqn), RNLAF, based at Eindhoven Air Base, the Netherlands; and different ANG air refuelling wings stationed on a rotational basis at Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany. While the 100 ARW and the ANG units fly the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, the 334 Sqn operates the McDonnell Douglas KDC-10 Extender. Thus, HAW pilots get valuable experience from training with two different tanker airframes.

Lt Col Peer Geelen (RNLAF), the Director of Operations of the HAW Heavy Airlift Squadron (HAS), points out that training cooperation with the ANG units, the 100 ARW, and the 334 Sqn is an efficient solution to providing the 12 member nations of the SAC with access to C-17As capable of air-to-air refuelling. "The SAC nations are our customers, therefore, we have to be able to meet their requirements. Close cooperation with the USAF, the ANG and the RNLAF helps us to maintain air-to-air refuelling capability as cost-effectively as possible," Lt Col Geelen emphasises.

(Source: ARMSCOM, 22 July 2016, 'Air-to-Air Refuelling Training through Multinational Cooperation Operations')

Against this backdrop, SMi is proud to announce that the Heavy Airlift Wing, US Air Force and Boeing will be sharing case studies at the 17th annual Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference, taking place on 29th - 30th November 2016 in Florence, Italy:

• Strategic Airlift Capability - A Ground-breaking Model for Cooperation

Colonel Bjorn Gohn-Hellum, Vice Commander, Heavy Airlift Wing

Wiek Noldus, Programme Manager, Airlift Management Programme, NSPA

• How the U.S Are Force Is Satisfying AAR Requirements across Europe

Colonel Thomas Torkelson, Commander of 100 Aerial Refuelling Wing, US Air Force Europe

• Supporting Airlift Anytime, Anywhere and Air Refuelling - 21st Century Capability and Support

Pam Valdez, Director, Derivative Fleet Support and Sustainment, Global Services and Support, Boeing

James Eisenhart, Director, Sales and Marketing, C2ISR and Mobility Platforms, Boeing

Don't miss the chance to hear from an international line-up of senior military, multinational commands and expert industry speakers who will provide a comprehensive overview of strategic and tactical airlifts in Europe. The two-day event will also enable you to participate in discussions on interoperability enhancement and how emerging technology will impact next-generation airlift capabilities.

Chairman for 2016:

• Laurent Donnet, Programme Manager Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling, European Defence Agency

Host Nation Addresses from:

• Brigadier General Achille Cazzaniga, Commanding Officer of the 46th Air Brigade, Italian Air Force

• Colonel Gustavo Cicconardi, Chairman of NATO Air-to-Air Refueling Working Group, Italian Air Force

Military Speakers include:

• Major General Christian Badia, Commander, European Air Transport Command

• Colonel Thomas Torkelson, Commander of 100 Aerial Refuelling Wing, US Air Force Europe

• Colonel Bjorn Gohn-Hellum, Vice Commander, Heavy Airlift Wing

• Colonel Torgeir Aas, Commander of the Gardermoen Air Base, Royal Norwegian Air Force

• Group Captain Elizabeth Purcell, Chief AMCC, NATO SHAPE

• Group Captain Andrew Killey, Assistant Head of DSCOM, UK Ministry of Defence

• Group Captain Martin Cunningham, Chief of Staff - Air Mobility Headquarters, Royal Air Force (RAF)

• Michele Rega, Fixed Wing Officer, European Defence Agency

• Wiek Noldus, Programme Manager, Airlift Management Programme, NSPA

• Kenneth Carhart, Consultant, NSPA

To view the full speaker line-up and conference programme, visit

Plus, don't miss the post-conference complimentary site visit to the Pisa Air Force Base on 1st December 2016:

Following SMi's 17th Annual Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference, all delegates are invited to our post-conference site visit to the Pisa Air Force base. Transport will be provided to and from the conference hotel for this visit, where delegates will have the opportunity visit the facilities and the aircraft.

Contact Information:

SMi Group

Vinh Trinh

+44 (0) 20 7827 6140

Contact via Email

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Date:Aug 3, 2016
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