TALLINN - Estonia used the flight hours allocated to it under the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) program in 2019 for transporting units and equipment to Mali.
This year, Estonia had the nominal use of 35.5 flights hours of the NATO SAC program with the C-17 transport aircraft, spokespeople for the Ministry of Defense told BNS.
Of these, Estonia used 34.5 flight hours for the rotation of units serving in Mali and for transporting equipment to the operation area.
Like other countries participating in the program, Estonia supported the visit of NATO Military Committee to Georgia with one flight hour in the first half of the year.
Spokespeople said that Estonia had slightly fewer flight hours available for use this year as long-term maintenance of aircraft is being carried out. The maintenance of one plane takes approximately six months and as a result of this there are fewer flight hours to be distributed between member states.
In the framework of the NATO SAC program, participating states jointly acquired three Boeing C-17 Globemaster III type transport planes and the use of the aircraft has been divided between the countries. The planes are stationed at the Papa air base in Hungary.
Estonia can use 45 nominal flight hours in SAC per year. According to the agreement, every country participating in the program allocates 10 percent of its flight hours to the unit for training and maintenance flights. Thus Estonia can use 40.5 flight hours per year.