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May 14 2020

NATO's Rapid Air Mobility continues to expedite COVID-19 support between Allies

MONS, Belgium – NATO’s Rapid Air Mobility (RAM) initiative facilitated the delivery of essential equipment between the United States and Italy, in support of COVID-19 relief efforts, on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. 

The latest RAM-flight, executed by a United States Air Force Super Hercules C-130J from the U.S. 86thAirlift Wing, out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, directly supported the distribution of critical medical supplies for the Italian National Disaster Management Agency (Protezione Civile). The aircraft made deliveries of KN95 surgical masks, surgical gowns and COVID test kits to Milan and Rome.

By leveraging NATO’s experience conducting strategic coordination with multiple partners, we are enhancing the ongoing combined actions of our Allied forces

The RAM initiative simplifies procedures for military relief flights, by using a unique NATO call sign to accelerate Air Traffic Control clearances. This initiative is possible because of close cooperation between NATO and EUROCONTROL.

U.S. and Italian troops support the Italian government in transporting medical and other relief supplies via an 86th Airlift Wing C-130J Super Hercules between hubs in Milan and Rome, Italy May 13. The flight marked another successful deployment of NATO’s Rapid Air Mobility Initiative, activated in March, to support COVID-19 relief efforts in Allied nations. - Photo by Ramstein Air Base, Germany

"The implementation of simplified procedures for Rapid Air Mobility, in coordination with EUROCONTROL, allows Allied military flights to expedite delivery of life-saving medical supplies," said Lieutenant General Rittimann, SHAPE's Vice Chief of Staff, and commander of the NATO COVID-19 Task Force.

The Task Force was established by Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tod D. Wolters and will continue leading the efforts to coordinate current and near term activities, such as Rapid Air Mobility, and better prepare and posture our Allied militaries for future pandemics.

"We are in this crisis together. By leveraging NATO’s experience conducting strategic coordination with multiple partners, we are enhancing the ongoing combined actions of our Allied forces,” added Lieutenant General Rittimann.

The Rapid Air Mobility concept was established in 2018 to enhance NATO’s capability to deploy and respond to a range of crises. The North Atlantic Council approved activating the system of simplified procedures on March 31, 2020.

Contingency arrangements remain in place for the coordination of similar requests and flights for the immediate future.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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