On 27 July first "C-17 Boeing Globemaster III" aircraft arrived to the permanent deployment location in Papa Air Base, Hungary. The aircraft was procured by countries, including Lithuania, participating in NATO strategic air transport program. Lithuanian Ambassador in Hungary Renatas Juška and Lithuanian Defence Attaché Colonel Eugenijus Vosylius participated in the aircraft meeting ceremony in Papa city.
Multilateral agreement to create strategic (i.e. long range) airlift capabilities by collectively procuring three C-17 aircraft became effective on 23 October, 2008. Agreement was signed by ten NATO members: Bulgaria, USA, Estonia, Poland Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary ant two NATO partners - Finland and Sweden. In accordance with this agreement countries will use aircraft for different types of NATO and European Union led multinational operations; military, humanitarian and other. The aircraft will be deployed in Hungary, Papa Air Base, the crews of the aircraft will include personnel of 12 nations.
Participating in C-17 program Lithuania will be provided 45 hours for flying per year using C-17 aircraft for airlift to mission area, and also contribute while creating joint NATO capabilities.
C-17 aircraft is used for rapid strategic airlift of troops, extremely large amount of cargo, military equipment, vehicles and ammunition in long distances without landing, logistic support of soldiers in operation zones.
The first from the three aircraft C-17 is already ready for operation. On arrival to Papa Air Base, NATO Heavy Airlift Wing will be activated. The other two aircraft should arrive to Hungary in the autumn 2009; all three aircraft will be able to participate in multinational operations in full capability in the second half of 2010.