Air Transport Wing 63
In the heart of Schleswig-Holstein, the most northern state of Germany, the Air Transport Wing 63 (ATW 63, LTG 63) is stationed. For five decades the wing made its contribution to the operational readiness of the German Armed Forces.
Especially due to its numerous relief efforts following natural disasters such as droughts and floods as well as evacuation operations in crisis and war zones, the ATW 63 became known nationwide. Today it employs around 1.000 soldiers and 250 civilian people.
More than half a century
The official commissioning of the ATW 63 took place on 15th December 1961 in Celle. In the spring of 1967 it was relocated to the newly built airfield at Hohn - its home until today. The first fleet consisted of 43 Noratlas aircraft, lovingly called “Nora".
The Noratlas gained a good reputation in humanitarian operations such as over Algeria and Mauritania. This era ends on 18th March 1970 with the last Nora leaving the Hohn Air Base: Since 1968 the conversion of the squadron was completed by rolling out the Transall C-160. Even today 27 of these reliable aircraft are available to carry out its tasks.
Relief efforts home and abroad
As early as 1962 the ATW 63 was involved with relief flights in the flood disaster along the North Sea coast. Over 260.000 sandbags were dropped to support the levees and the wing completed many rescue missions for the people cut off from the outside world. Since 1963 the squadron supported over 35 relief operations worldwide. Whether earthquake relief in Italy or Turkey, famine caused by drought or civil war in Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia, as well as fire extincting missions at home or operations to evacuate German citizens from Liberia: The C-160 Transalls of the ATW 63 are always there, when people need help. The missions in East Timor from 2000 or 2002 and the operations while the flood of Dresden are still fresh in the memory and indicate in which spatial spread – Timor is right next to Australia – the wing offers and succeeds in his extraordinary support.
In February 2002 the rise of the German Air Transport Base in Termez, Uzbekistan, took place where the ATW 63 together with its sister wings (ATW 61 and 62) since then supplied the German ISAF troops in Afghanistan, and - if necessary - also ensured Medical Evacuation inside the theatre. Since 30th August 2008 the Transalls are stationed in Mazar-e Sharif, centre of German Forces operations in Afghanistan.
And much more to come…
Not only Air Transport, but also a wide spectrum of additional capabilities incorporates this wing: Specialized Air Transport, AirMedEvac, NEO (Military Evacuation), Parachuting and further more. In close connection with the additional use of helicopters the ATW 63 also provides extra long range distances for special ops missions – especially for the German Air Force the ATW 63 therewith bears a unique capability.