RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany: Officials of the12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability, or SAC, consortium will celebrate the activation of the operational unit, known as the Heavy Airlift Wing, and arrival of the unit’s first C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at Pápa Air Base, Hungary, in a ceremony on July 27.

The wing’s multinational aircrews will fly missions to meet participant nations’ obligations to employ, deploy and redeploy forces and equipment and provide humanitarian relief in Europe and the surrounding region, including Afghanistan.

The 12 participating nations — Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and the United States — have established the SAC consortium to jointly acquire and operate three C-17s from a single base of operations for the next 30 years. Each nation will decide how to use its portion of flight hours to support national, United Nations, European Union and NATO requirements. This unique approach allows participating nations to achieve greater efficiencies in defense investment and operational capacity than otherwise possible.

Roughly 150 air force personnel and their families from all 12 nations will live at the base, creating a new multinational military community in Pápa, a small city of 33,000 native Hungarians. Among these are 43 U.S. Air Force members and their families.

A number of high-ranking officials will be attending the ceremony including Brig. Gen. RIchard Johnston, Strategic Airlift Capability steering board chairman; Col. John Zazworsky, Heavy Airlift Wing commander; and Swedish air force Col. Fredrik Heden, Heavy Airlift Wing vice commander.