The NATO-supported Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) has airlifted more than 300 tonnes of vital supplies needed during the COVID-19 pandemic to Germany over the past two months. Germany has carried out six missions since the beginning of the crisis using SALIS capabilities, with the most recent deliveries on 30 April, 13 May, 15 May and 16 May 2020. Nine NATO Allies – Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – participate in the SALIS programme. It provides participating countries with rapid access to heavy transport aircraft, which has aided their efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19.
The Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) and the Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) programme, managed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), have delivered over 1,000 tonnes of medical supplies to NATO Allies, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. NATO member countries are pooling their resources to charter special aircraft that give the Alliance the capability to transport troops, equipment and supplies across the globe. Robust strategic airlift capabilities are vital to ensure that NATO countries are able to deploy their forces and equipment rapidly to wherever they are needed.
A multinational consortium of nine countries is chartering Antonov AN-124-100 aircraft as a Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS). SALIS provides assured access to up to five AN-124-100 aircraft (mission-ready within a few days in case of crisis) in support of national, NATO and European Union (EU) operations. In December 2018, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) signed a contract with Antonov Logistics Salis, a company based in Germany. In addition to the AN-124 aircraft, the current contract also provide cargo capacity on other large cargo aircraft, namely AN-225, AN-22 and IL-76 (ICAO Chapter IV), subject to availability.
The second initiative aimed at providing NATO nations as well as partners with access to strategic airlift is the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), which has procured several Boeing C-17 transport aircraft on behalf of a group of 10 NATO Allies and two partner nations. The first C-17 was delivered in July 2009 with the second and third aircraft following in September and October 2009, respectively. Its operational arm, the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) at Pápa Airbase in Hungary, operates the aircraft. The C-17 is a large strategic transport aircraft capable of carrying 77,000 kilograms of cargo over 4,450 kilometres and is able to operate in difficult environments and austere conditions.