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Logistics for military troops contains a lot of aspects, but in the context of military interventions we are mainly interested in movement of troops, material and ammunition (sealift, airlift, transport by railway or truck), fuel and communication.
One of the major changes from a static defence army to an intervention force is the build up of transport capacity to project forces to the war zone and to sustain them. Most European states have their own transport capacity but most have great shortages. These shortages are solved by providing each other with their excess capacity, by pooling capacities or by renting them on the commercial market.
For the explanation of multinational cooperation projects (ARK, SALIS, C-17-project, MCCE) see the lead countries.
airlift: the Rinas military part of the airport Nënë Tereza (“Mother Teresa)
Due to its colonial past the Belgian airforce still has a large amount of C-130-planes (10), together with 2 Airbus A310-planes. Airlift happens from Melsbroek, which is part of the main civil airport of Zaventem near Brussels, with these planes or with rented Antonov An-124 through the SALIS-project. Intermediate stops on the way to Afghanistan happen in Turkey, UAE, Dushanbe (Tadjikistan), Manas (Kyrgyzstan), … on bases of European countries or the US. F-16 transports make use of a KC 135-tanker plane from one of the NATO-partners (US, Netherlands, France …)
Sealift departs from Antwerp and Zeebrugge. Roro-transport happens with the MCCE (and ARK) and perhaps also commercial. Container transport is rented commercially.
In the areas of operation commercial freight traffic is often used: Pakistan (Karachi)-Afghanistan, Cameroon (also by train)-Chad.
Also the US is a busy user of the Belgian logistical assets, for the transport of military material from its bases in Germany to the war zones. This material comes by barge along the Rhine to Belgium or by rail through Möntzen to be shipped in the port of Antwerp.
fuel: the port of Antwerp is one of the main import points of aircraft fuel through the military CEPS-pipeline network. This network runs from Western-Europe to the former Iron Curtain borderline and supplies about all airports, military and civil.
airlift: the Czech Republic bought 2 AIRBUS A-319 Corporate Jetliner, which use Praha Kbely as homebase. Czech also participates in the SALIS-project. Before that it bought transport capacity from other states, mainly the US.
sealift: the Czech Republic has a cooperation agreement with Greece.
For the Balkan operations most transport goes by train or road transport.
airlift: Aalborg: 4 C-130's
Denmark is lead nation of the ARK-project, together with Germany. It leases RoRo-ships for military sealift. These ships are also available for other NATO/EU-countries and when not in use they are rented on the commercial market.
Ships: TOR ANGLIA, TOR FUTURA, ARK FORWARDER, TOR DANIA
1er régiment du train parachutiste: base aérienne 101 de Francazal in Toulouse
516e Régiment du Train (516e RT) from TOUL / 517e Régiment du Train (517e RT) from LA MARTINERIE: is responsible for land transport of heavy material.
ports: La Rochelle, Le Havre et Toulon
military units: 519e Régiment du Train (519e RT) from LA ROCHELLE
France has 3 RoRo-ships: MV Paimpolaise, MV Eclipse and MV Eider.
airlift German military:
Trollenhagen is the main depart airport, except for material like helicopters which are put on planes at their home airbase.
Afghanistan: with An-124 and Iljuschin Il-76 directly to Mazar-e-Sharif or by Termez (Uzbekistan). From Termez flights go to Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kunduz and Feyzabad.
Kosovo: directly with Airbus A310 and Transall C-160D
Libanon: with own planes from Limassol on Cyprus.
Leipzig: civilian airport hosting the SALIS-project. this project is a cooperation to lease 6 An124-planes of the Russian-Ukrainian company Ruslan, of which 2 permanently are based in Leipzig. The 4 other are based in Kiev (Ukraïne) and Ulyanovsk (Russia). Participating countries are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey and Sweden.
DHL also has its main hub in Leipzig and works a lot for the German Army.
Ramstein is an important logistical hub for the US Army.
Spangdahlem is the point of departure of all US soldiers in Germany to a conflict zone.
The airport of Leipzig is also used a lot by the US as intermediate stop for troop transport between the US and the conflict zones.
The base of Geilenkirchen host aside of the NATO AWACS-planes also some US KC-135 tanker planes.
The logistical center of the Bundeswehr will be concentrated in Wilhelmshaven. Now it hosts already the maritime and the ground transport departements. The Army and Airforce departements are at the moment still based in Bad Neuenahr and Koln.
RoRo-transport happens with the ARK-project, other sealift with commercial transport.
Most military material is transported by barge or train to Antwerp, Rotterdam or Bremerhaven, where it is shipped to the conflict zones.
airlift: 59e “Szentgyörgyi Dezső” Harcászati Repülőbázis (59th Tactical Plane Base) based at Kecskemét AFB: 5 An-26
NATO promoted a cooperation project for the collective purchase of 3 C-17-planes. These are stationed in the airport of Papa in Hungary. Participating countries are Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, US and Sweden.
Ireland uses commercial transport for its own army:
EUFOR Chad: soldiers went with a commercial charter to N'Djamena. Their material (3700 ton, more than 100 vehicles) first by ship to Cameroon, then by rail and over the road to Chad. Also a An-124 leased from Antonov Airlines was used.
VS: Shannon airport (near Limerick) is an important intermediate stop for US military transports. It is the most western airport of Europe. More than a million US soldiers have already past through Shannon airport since January 2003.
airlift: C-130's with intermediate stop in Al Bateen - VAE
Italy does not use the existing pooling-structures. It rents commercial passengers- and cargo planes, aside of its 22 C-130's, C-27J's and 4 767-tankers. Also sealift is leased.
airlift: 173rd Airborne Brigade: the military airforce base Aviano is the point of departure.
sealift: Camp Darby (between Livorno and Pisa) is material and munition-storage place, with the port of Livorno as shipping point.
Strategic transport is purchased commercially or obtained through the armed forces of allies. Points of departure are the airport of Siauliai, the port of Klaipeda and the Sestokai railway terminal.
Eindhoven is generally the point of embarkment. Use is made of self-owned Airbus or C-130, or of leased An124 aircraft.
Helicopters depart straight from their homebase in Gilze-Rijen and are transported by An124
- sealift: Vlissingen, Rotterdam
Eindhoven airbase houses the Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE). This is a logistical coordination centre. The participating countries share their unused transport capacities and their needs for air, see or land transport. Participating countries are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK and US. This coordination is not a part of the NATO or EU structures, but can be used for operations by both international organisations.
Eindhoven also houses the Strategic Air Lift Coordination Cell (SALCC). This is the military organisation dealing with the SALIS-contract. It is co-located with the MCCE, but is a separate organisation.
US: uses Dutch logistical infrastructure
- port of Rotterdam (European Container Terminal/Delta Terminal on the Maasvlakte )
- river transport from Mannheim (D)
- train transport from Germany by Railion (Dutch rail freight company owned by Deutsche Bahn)
- 838th Transportation Battalion. This unit is subordinated to the 598th US Army Transportation Terminal Group from the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC), a European US logistical HQ (all based in Capelle aan den IJssel near Rotterdam).
airlift: Norway supports its troops in Afghanistan by airlift to Kabul, making use of the SALIS-project.
sealift: Norway has longterm contracts with Norwegian shipping companies for a guaranteed access to RoRo-ships. Extra capacity delivered by these contracts is offered through the MCCE is Noorwegen to other countries.
For other sea transport Norway makes use of commercial charters.
13th Airlift Squadron 8th Air Base Kraków: 9 CASA C-295 (+7 ordered), 5 An-26, 10 PZL M-28 Bryza (+5 ordered)
14th Airlift Squadron - 33rd Air Base Powidz: C-130 (only operational end 2008 - 5 ordered)
sealift: by commercial charters or rented from other countries. The US delivered almost all sealift for Polish troops to Iraq, but is also delivering a lot of sea transport to Pakistan for the Afghanistan-war. Port of departure is always Szczecin.
US: the military base of Lajes on the Azores is an important refueling stop for both ships and aircraft.
Airlift: 90th Airlift Base in Bucharest.
airlift: self-owned C-130 and 9 C-295, departing from Getafe and stop in Manas (Kyrgyzstan).
sealift: MCCE + commercial
US: the base of Rota (near Cadiz) is an important logistical hub for the US Navy and Airforce.
airlift: departure from Örebro.
Sweden is also partner in the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW), in which 12 countries collectively own C-17 planes based in Papa, Hungary.
source Swedish Army
Abu Dhabi is also in use as intermediary stop for passengers trafic. Four persons are serving in the United Arab Emirates, in the Swedish support unit NSE Detachment UAE. It is part of the international force belonging to ISAF. The task is to support the mission in Afghanistan with the transit of personnel to and from Afghanistan, including accommodation, catering and support at the airport to the extent required, passport processing and more. The detachment is also responsible for local purchases for Afghanistan and dealing with goods to be delivered by plane to Afghanistan. source Swedish Army
Strategic air transport is done with Tristar and VC10-planes from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, both with passengers as cargo. Shorter distances are made with C-130 Hercules planes from RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.
The UK has bought 6 C-17 Globemaster III-planes to have a heavy strategic air capacity.
Brize Norton is today the UK's main tanker and transport base, supporting both air campaigns (refueling) and ground actions (transport for troops and material). One of the squadrons there (No 99 Squadron) provides transport specifically for the Joint Rapid Reaction Force (In particular, it will host the European A400M Airbus). Brize Norton was used in all “major” conflicts, most recently both Gulf wars, ex-Yougoslavia, and Afghanistan.
For shipments by sea Portsmouth harbour is the main military port. The UK has 6 RoRo-ships of its own. Portsmouth naval base is home to almost two-thirds of the Royal Navy's surface ships, and home-port to the three aircraft carriers. It is also home to the Fleet Headquarters, which joins together all the areas previously covered by the headquarters of the Surface Flottila, the Royal Marines, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Naval Aviation.
The US also makes heavy use of the UK's logistical facilities.