NATO Strategic Airlift Interim Solution
25 Mar 2006
On March 23, 2006, NATO celebrated the start of a multinational contract on a Strategic Airlift Interim Solution in an event hosted by the German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung, since Germany has taken the lead on this initiative.
On January 23, 15 NATO countries signed a contract with Ruslan SALIS GmbH, a subsidiary of the Russian company Volga Dnepr, based in Leipzig. The 15 original signatories – Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom – were joined by Sweden on 23 March.
The contract provides for two AN-124-100 aircraft on full-time charter, two more on six days notice and another two on nine days notice. This multinational arrangement allows the countries participating in the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS) programme to meet commitments to strengthen capabilities in both the NATO and EU frameworks, pending deliveries of Airbus A400M aircraft, expected to start in 2010.
The contract’s initial duration is for three years with a possibility to extend it further. The aircraft, which were made available from the beginning of February, are drawn from the Russian company, Volga-Dnepr, and Ukraine’s ADB. The contract is administered by the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency and its operation is managed by the SALIS Coordination Centre in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The countries concerned have committed to using the aircraft for a minimum of 2000 flying hours per year.