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C-17 Globemaster III
USAF C-17 Globemaster IIIs on a low level tactical training mission over the Blue Ridge Mountains
Role Strategic/tactical airlifter
National origin United States
Manufacturer McDonnell Douglas / Boeing
First flight 15 September 1991
Introduction 14 July 1993
Status In service
Primary users United States Air Force
Royal Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
Canadian Forces
Number built 212 as of January 2010[1]
Unit cost $200 million (2010)[2]
Developed from McDonnell Douglas YC-15

The Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas) C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft. The C-17 was developed for the United States Air Force from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas. The aircraft carries on the name of two previous United States military cargo aircraft, the C-74 Globemaster and the C-124 Globemaster II. The C-17 is used for rapid strategic airlift of troops and cargo to main operating bases or forward operating bases throughout the world. It has the ability to rapidly deploy a combat unit to a potential battle area and sustain it with on-going supplies. The C-17 is also capable of performing tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop missions.[3]

The C-17 is operated by the US Air Force, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada,[4] NATO,[5] and Qatar,[6] while the United Arab Emirates[7] has placed orders.

Contents

Development

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Background

In the 1970s, the US Air Force began looking for a replacement for the C-130 Hercules tactical airlifter. The Advanced Medium STOL Transport (AMST) competition was held, with Boeing proposing the YC-14, and McDonnell Douglas proposing the YC-15. Though both entrants exceeded specified requirements, the AMST competition was canceled before a winner had been selected. The Air Force subsequently started the C-X program to develop a larger AMST with longer range to augment its strategic airlift.[8]

The McDonnell Douglas YC-15 design was used as the basis for the C-17.

By 1980, the USAF found itself with a large fleet of aging C-141 Starlifter cargo aircraft. Compounding matters, USAF historically never possessed sufficient strategic airlift capabilities to fulfill its airlift requirements. The USAF set mission requirements and released a request for proposals (RFP) in October 1980. McDonnell Douglas elected to develop a new aircraft using the YC-15 as the basis. Boeing bid an enlarged version of its AMST YC-14. Lockheed submitted a C-5 based design and an enlarged C-141 design. McDonnell Douglas was selected to build its proposed aircraft on 28 August 1981, by then designated C-17. The new aircraft differed in having swept wings, increased size, and more powerful engines.[9] This would allow it to perform all work performed by the C-141, but to also fulfill some of the duties of the C-5 Galaxy, freeing the C-5 fleet for larger outsize cargo.[9]

Design phase

Development continued until December 1985 when a full-scale production contract was signed for 210 aircraft. Development problems and limited funding caused delays in the late 1980s.[10] Questions were also raised about more cost-effective alternatives during this time. In April 1990, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney reduced the order from 210 to 120 aircraft. The C-17's maiden flight was on 15 September 1991 from the McDonnell Douglas west coast plant in Long Beach, California, about a year behind schedule. The first aircraft (T-1) and five more production models (P1-P5) participated in extensive flight testing and evaluation at Edwards Air Force Base.[11] The C-17 received the "Globemaster III" name in early 1993.[9] In late 1993, the DoD gave the contractor two years to solve production and cost overrun problems or face termination of the contract after the delivery of the fortieth aircraft. By accepting the 1993 terms, McDonnell Douglas incurred a loss of nearly US$1.5 billion on the development phase of the program.[11]

Three C-17s unload supplies to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi in August 2005.

In April 1994, the C-17 program was still experiencing cost overruns, and did not meet weight, fuel burn, payload and range specifications. Airflow issues caused problems with parachutes and there were other technical problems with mission software, landing gear, etc.[12] A July 1994 GAO document revealed that to justify investing in the C-17 rather than in the C-5, Air Force and DoD studies from 1986 and 1991 had claimed that the C-17 could use 6,400 more runways (outside the US) than the C-5. It was later discovered that this study had only considered the runway dimensions, but not their strength or Load Classification Numbers (LCN). The C-5 has a lower LCN than the C-17, although the US Air Force places both in the same broad Load Classification Group (LCG). When considering runway dimensions and their load ratings, the C-17's worldwide runway advantage over the C-5 shrank from 6,400 to 911 airfields.[13] However, the C-17's ability to use lower quality, austere airfields was not considered.[13]

A January 1995 GAO report revealed that while the original C-17 budget was US$41.8 billion for 210 aircraft, the 120 aircraft already ordered at that point had already cost US$39.5 billion.[14] In March 1994, the U.S. Army had decided it no longer needed the 60,000 lb (27,000 kg) Low Altitude Parachute Extraction System (LAPES) delivery that the C-17 was supposed to provide, feeling that the 42,000 lb (19,000 kg) capability of the C-130 Hercules was sufficient. It was decided not to conduct C-17 LAPES training beyond the testing of a 42,000 lb (19,000 kg) LAPES delivery. There were still airflow problems making it impossible for the C-17 to meet its original airdrop requirements. A February 1997 GAO Report revealed that a C-17 with a full payload could not land on 3,000 ft (900 m) wet runways, for simulations suggested 5,000 ft (1,500 m) was required.[15]

By the mid-1990s, most of the problems had been resolved.[16] The first C-17 squadron was declared operational by the U.S. Air Force in January 1995. In 1996, DoD ordered another 80 aircraft for a total of 120. In 1997 McDonnell Douglas merged with its former competitor, Boeing. In 1998, the order was increased to 134 units and in August 2002 to 180.

Recent developments

C-17 Globemaster III.ogv
C-17 Globemaster III USAF video

In October 2007, 190 C-17s were on order to the USAF and Boeing had purchased parts for 30 new C-17s at its own expense in hopes that Congress will approve the funds requested.[17] Fifteen C-17s are earmarked in a FY2008 War Supplemental[18] that Congress passed and was signed into law in June 2008.[19] These funds extended production from August 2009 to August 2010. On 6 February 2009, Boeing was awarded a contract for 15 additional C-17s for US$2.95 billion, thus pushing total C-17s on contract to the USAF to 205.[20] On 6 April 2009 US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that there would be no more C-17s ordered beyond the 205 planned.[21] This announcement may have been a bit early because a month later in May, a war funding bill was put forward that requested an additional US$2.2bn for up to eight more aircraft.[22] And on June 12, 2009 the House Armed Services Air and Land Forces Subcommittee added 17 C-17s to the authorized force level.[23]

In November 2009, 205 C-17s are on contract with the USAF. A contract for eight C-17s from the supplemental war funding bill has not yet been awarded. On 18 December 2009, the US Senate passed the FY 2010 DOD budget with funding for 10 C-17s and was signed into law by the President the following day. Total USAF C-17s contracted will be 223 once contracts are awarded, extending production until 2013.

Design

The inside of a C-17

In recent years the size and weight of U.S. mechanized firepower and equipment have grown, which has significantly increased air mobility requirements, particularly in the area of large or heavy outsize cargo. The C-17 can airlift such cargo fairly close to a potential battle area.

The C-17 is powered by four fully reversible, F117-PW-100 turbofan engines (the Department of Defense designation for the commercial Pratt and Whitney PW2040, used on the Boeing 757). Each engine is rated at 40,400 lbf (180 kN) of thrust.[24] The thrust reversers direct the flow of air upward and forward. This reduces the probability of foreign object damage and provides reverse thrust capable of backing the aircraft. Additionally, the C-17's thrust reversers can be used in flight[24] at idle-reverse for added drag in maximum-rate descents.

C-17 landing, showing its landing gear.

The aircraft requires a crew of three (pilot, copilot, and loadmaster) for cargo operations. Cargo is loaded through a large aft door that accommodates both rolling stock (trucks, armored vehicles, trailers, etc.) and palletized cargo. The cargo floor has rollers (used for palletized cargo) that can be flipped to provide a flat floor suitable for rolling stock. One of the larger pieces of rolling stock that this aircraft can carry is the 70-ton M1 Abrams tank.

Maximum payload capacity of the C-17 is 170,900 lb (77,500 kg), and its maximum Takeoff Weight is 585,000 lb (265,350 kg). With a payload of 160,000 lb (72,600 kg) and an initial cruise altitude of 28,000 ft (8,500 m), the C-17 has an unrefueled range of approximately 2,400 nautical miles (4,400 km) on the first 71 units, and 2,800 nautical miles (5,200 km) on all subsequent units—which are extended-range models using the sealed center wing bay as a fuel tank. These units are informally referred to by Boeing as the C-17 ER.[25] The C-17 cruise speed is approximately 450 knots (833 km/h) (0.76 Mach).[3] The C-17 is designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers and their equipment. The U.S. Army BCT Ground Combat Vehicle is to be transported by the C-17.

C-17 creating a visible vortex while demonstrating the use of reverse thrust to push the aircraft backwards on runway.

The C-17 is designed to operate from runways as short as 3,500 ft (1,064 m) and as narrow as 90 ft (27 m). In addition, the C-17 can operate out of unpaved, unimproved runways (although there is the increased probability of damage to the aircraft).[3] The thrust reversers can be used to back the aircraft and reverse direction on narrow taxiways using a three-point (or in some cases, multi-point) turn maneuver.[3]

Operational history

United States Air Force

The first production model was delivered to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina on 14 July 1993. The first squadron of C-17s, the 17th Airlift Squadron, was declared operationally ready on 17 January 1995.[26] The C-17 has broken 22 records for oversized payloads.[27] The C-17 was awarded US aviation's most prestigious award, the Collier Trophy in 1994.[28]

A USAF C-17 during takeoff

The Air Force originally programmed to buy a total of 120 C-17s, with the last one being scheduled for delivery in November 2004. The fiscal 2000 budget funded another 14 aircraft, primarily for Air Mobility Command (AMC) support of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Basing of the original 120 C-17s was with the 437th Airlift Wing and 315th Airlift Wing at Charleston AFB, South Carolina, the 62d Airlift Wing and 446th Airlift Wing at McChord Air Force Base, Washington (first aircraft arrived in July 1999), the Air Education and Training Command's (AETC) 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus AFB, Oklahoma, and the Air Mobility Command-gained 172d Airlift Wing of the Mississippi Air National Guard at Jackson-Evers International Airport/ANGB, Mississippi. Although operationally-gained by the Air Mobility Command, the C-17 aircraft assigned to the 172 AW are the only C-17s strictly under direct control of the Air National Guard (ANG).

Basing of the additional 13 aircraft went to the 305th Air Mobility Wing and 514th Air Mobility Wing at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey; the 3d Wing and 176th Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; 15th Airlift Wing and 154th Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; and 60th Air Mobility Wing and 349th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base, California. An additional 60 units were ordered in May 2002.

A C-17 lands at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, after dropping humanitarian food rations over Afghanistan.

In FY 2006, eight C-17s were delivered to March Joint Air Reserve Base, California. Although operationally-gained by the Air Mobility Command, these C-17s are the only aircraft strictly under direct control of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC).

In 2007, Congress appropriated funds for 10 additional USAF C-17s,[29] bringing the total planned fleet size (on order + delivered) to 190. Additional aircraft were subsequently assigned to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware which had previously been strictly equipped with C-5 Galaxy aircraft.

The C-17 have been and continue to deliver military goods and humanitarian aid during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. On 26 March 2003, fifteen USAF C-17s participated in the biggest combat airdrop since the United States invasion of Panama in December 1989: the night-time airdrop of 1,000 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade occurred over Bashur, Iraq. It opened the northern front to combat operations and constituted the largest formation airdrop carried out by the United States since World War II.

A C-17 also accompanies the President of the United States on his visits to both domestic and foreign arrangements, consultations, and meetings. The C-17 is used to transport the Presidential Limousine and security detachments.[citation needed]

USAF C-17A taxiing to the take off point at the Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, England.

USAF C-17s have also been used to assist US allies transport military equipment, including Canadian armored vehicles to Afghanistan in 2003 and the redeployment of Australian forces in Australia and the Solomon Islands during the Australian-led military deployment to East Timor in 2006. In late September and early November 2006, USAF C-17s flew 15 Canadian Forces Leopard C2 tanks from Kyrgyzstan into Kandahar in support of the Afghanistan NATO mission.

There has been debate regarding follow-on orders for the C-17, with the Air Force requesting line shutdown, and members of Congress attempting to reinstate production. Furthermore, in FY2007, the Air Force requested $1.6 billion to deal with what it termed "excessive combat use" on operational airframes.[30]

However, in testimony before a House of Representatives subcommittee on air and land forces, General Arthur Lichte, USAF, the Commander of Air Mobility Command indicated extending production to another 15 aircraft, bringing the total to 205. Pending on the delivery of the results of two studies in 2009, Lichte opines that the Air Force may eventually have to keep the production line open for purchase of even more C-17s to satisfy airlift requirements.[31] In February 2009 the USAF ordered 15 more C-17s which will bring its total to 205.[20]

United Kingdom

Boeing has actively marketed the C-17 to many European nations including Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The Royal Air Force has established an aim of having interoperability and some weapons and capabilities commonality with the United States Air Force. The UK's 1998 Strategic Defence Review identified a requirement for a strategic airlifter. The Short-Term Strategic Airlift (STSA) competition commenced in September of that year, however tendering was canceled in August 1999 with some bids identified by ministers as too expensive (including the Boeing/BAe C-17 bid) and others unsuitable.[32] The project continued, with the C-17 seen as the favorite.[32] In the light of continuing delays to the Airbus A400M program, the UK Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, announced in May 2000 that the RAF would lease four C-17s at an annual cost of £100 million[30] from Boeing for an initial seven years with an optional two year extension. At this point the RAF would have the option to buy the aircraft or return them to Boeing. The UK committed to upgrading the C-17s in line with the USAF so that in the event of their being returned to Boeing the USAF could adopt them.

The first C-17 was delivered to the RAF at Boeing's Long Beach facility on 17 May 2001 and flown to RAF Brize Norton by a crew from No. 99 Squadron which had previously trained with USAF crews to gain competence on the type. The RAF's fourth C-17 was delivered on 24 August 2001. The RAF aircraft were some of the first to take advantage of the new center wing fuel tank.

The RAF declared itself delighted with the C-17 and reports began to emerge that they wished to retain the aircraft regardless of the A400M's progress. Although the C-17 fleet was to be a fallback for the A400M, the UK announced on 21 July 2004 that they had elected to buy their four C-17s at the end of the lease, even though the A400M appeared to be moving closer to production. They also announced there would be a follow-on order for one C-17, with possible additional purchases later.[33] While the A400M is described as a "strategic" airlifter, the C-17 gives the RAF true strategic capabilities that it would not wish to lose, for example a maximum payload of 169,500 lb (77,000 kg) compared to the Airbus' 82,000 lb (37,000 kg).[30]

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 4 August 2006 that they had ordered an additional C-17 and that the four aircraft on lease would be purchased at the end of the current contract in 2008. A fifth aircraft was delivered on 22 February 2008 and reported for duty on 7 April 2008 at Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire.[34] Due to fears that the A400M may suffer further delays, the MoD announced in 2006, that it planned to acquire three more C-17s (for a total of eight) with delivery in 2009-2010.[35] On 26 July 2007, Defence Secretary Des Browne announced that the MoD intended to order a sixth C-17 to boost operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.[36] On 3 December 2007, the MoD announced a contract with Boeing for a sixth C-17,[37] which was handed over to the RAF on 11 June 2008.[38] On 18 December 2009, Boeing confirmed that the RAF had ordered a seventh C-17, with delivery scheduled for December 2010.[39][40]

In RAF service the C-17 has not been given an official designation (e.g., C-130J referred to as Hercules C4 or C5) due to its leased status, but is referred to simply as the C-17 or "C-17A Globemaster".[41]

Australia

An RAAF C-17 parked at Melbourne Airport, January 2009
Wing Commander Linda Corbould, commander of No. 36 Squadron RAAF, training in a USAF C-17

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) began investigating options to acquire heavy lift transport aircraft for strategic transport in 2005.[42] In late 2005 the then Minister for Defence Robert Hill stated that the Australian Defence Force was considering such aircraft due to the limited availability of strategic airlift aircraft from partner nations and air freight companies. The C-17 was considered to be favoured over the A400M as it was a "proven aircraft" and was already in production. One major requirement from the RAAF was the ability to airlift the Army's new M1 Abrams main battle tanks; another requirement was immediate delivery. Though unstated, commonality with the USAF and the United Kingdom's RAF was also considered advantageous. The aircraft for the RAAF were ordered directly from the USAF production run, and are identical to American C-17 even in paint scheme, the only difference being the national markings. This allowed delivery to commence within nine months of commitment to the program.[43]

On 2 March 2006 the Australian Government announced the purchase of three aircraft and one option with an entry into service date of 2006.[30] The Australian Government's 2006–07 budget included funding of A$2.2 billion to fund the purchase of three or four C-17s and related spare parts and training equipment.[44] In July 2006 a fixed price contract was awarded to Boeing to deliver four C-17s for US$780m (AUD$1bn).[45] Australia also signed a US$80.7m contract to join the global 'virtual fleet' C-17 sustainment program[46] and the RAAF's C-17s will receive the same upgrades as the USAF's fleet.[47]

The Royal Australian Air Force took delivery of its first C-17 in a ceremony at Boeing's plant at Long Beach, California on 29 November 2006.[48] Several days later the aircraft flew from Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii to Defence Establishment Fairbairn, Canberra, arriving on 4 December 2006. The aircraft was formally accepted in a ceremony at Fairbairn shortly after arrival.[49] The second aircraft was delivered to the RAAF on 11 May 2007 and the third was delivered on 18 December 2007. The fourth Australian C-17 was delivered on 19 January 2008.[50] All the Australian C-17s are operated by No. 36 Squadron and are based at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.[51] The squadron is working towards reaching its full operational capability in mid 2011.[46]

Australia's C-17s have supported ADF operations around the world. Tasks have included supporting Air Combat Group training deployments to the United States, transporting Royal Australian Navy Sea Hawk helicopters and making fortnightly missions to the Middle East to supply Australian forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The C-17s have also carried humanitarian supplies to Papua New Guinea during Operation Papua New Guinea Assist in 2007, supplies and South African Puma helicopters to Burma in 2008 following Cyclone Nargis,[52] and relief supplies to Samoa following the 2009 earthquake.

Canada

Canadian Forces C-17 (CC-177) at Lake Front Airport, New Orleans

Canada has had a long-standing need for strategic airlift for humanitarian and military operations around the world. The Canadian Forces (CF) had followed a pattern similar to the Luftwaffe in using rented Antonovs and Ilyushins for many of their needs, including deploying the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to tsunami-stricken Sri Lanka in 2005. The CF was forced to rely entirely on leased An-124 Ruslan for a deployment to Haiti in 2003, as well as a combination of leased Ruslans, Ilyushins and USAF C-17s for moving heavy equipment into Afghanistan. The Canadian Forces Future Strategic Airlifter Project was initiated in 2002 to study alternatives, including long-term leasing arrangements.[53]

On 5 July 2006, the Canadian government issued a notice that it intended to negotiate directly with Boeing for the purchase of four airlifters.[54] Then on 1 February 2007 Canada awarded a contract for four C-17s with delivery beginning in August 2007.[55] Like Australia, Canada was granted airframes originally slated for the U.S. Air Force, to accelerate delivery.[56]

Canadian Forces CC-177 Globemaster on approach to CFB Trenton

On 16 June 2007, the first Canadian C-17 rolled off the assembly line at Long Beach, California and into the paint hangar for painting and addition of Canadian markings including the national logo and air force roundel. The first Canadian C-17 made its initial flight on 23 July.[57] It was turned over to Canada on 8 August,[4] and participated at the Abbotsford International Airshow on 11 August prior to arriving at its new home base at 8 Wing, CFB Trenton, Ontario on 12 August.[58] Its first operational mission was delivery of disaster relief to Jamaica in the aftermath of Hurricane Dean.[59] The second C-17 arrived at 8 Wing, CFB Trenton on 18 October 2007. The last of four aircraft was delivered in April 2008.[60] The C-17 is officially designated CC-177 Globemaster III within the Canadian Forces.[61] The aircraft are assigned to Canadian Forces Air Command's 429 Squadron based at CFB Trenton.

NATO (Strategic Airlift Capability Program)

A number of NATO countries signed a letter of intent to purchase C-17s on 19 July 2006 at the 2006 Farnborough Airshow to participate in the joint purchase and operation of C-17s within NATO, a program called the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability.[62] A further letter of intent was announced on 12 September 2006 that included a few other countries, some of which have since withdrawn.

The present members are Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, the United States, as well as two Partners for Peace countries Finland and Sweden.[63]

The purchase is for two C-17s, and a third which is the US contribution to the pool, which is operated in the same fashion as the NATO AWACS aircraft.[64] The AWACS aircraft are jointly manned by crew from NATO countries. The Aircraft are based at Papa Air Base in Hungary.

On 14 July 2009, Boeing delivered the first C-17 under NATO's Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) program. The second and third C-17s were delivered in September and October 2009.[65][66]

Other

The Qatar Emiri Air Force operates two Boeing C-17s. Boeing delivered Qatar's first C-17 on August 11, 2009 and the second on September 10, 2009.[67]

In February 2009, the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement to purchase four C-17 airlifters.[7] In January 2010, UAE signed a contract with Boeing for six C-17s (four C-17s in 2011, and two in 2012).[68][69]

Future and potential operators

India

In June 2009, the Indian Air Force (IAF) selected the C-17 to fulfill its Very Heavy Lift Transport Aircraft requirement. If the deal is approved by the Indian Defense Ministry, the C-17 would replace the Ilyushin Il-76 as the largest heavy lift transport aircraft in-service with the IAF.[70] According to the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal P. V. Naik, the IAF plans to order ten C-17 aircraft. As of June 2009, the selection was being reviewed by the Indian Defense Ministry,[71] but an order has not been placed.[72]

According to Indian media reports in October 2009, the Defense Acquisition Council of India has "almost finalized" the deal with the United States for 10 C-17s.[70] US Ambassador to India, Timothy J. Roemer, expressed optimism over the deal and said that the United States was committed to expanding the "strategic lift capability" of the Indian Air Force.[73] In January 2010, the US Government received a request from India for 10 C-17s through a Foreign Military Sale.[74] It has been reported that India will buy C-17s on a government-to-government basis.[75]

Other military interest

During the summer 2008 it was reported that the South Korea had allocated funds for the purchase of three or four C-17-class airplanes for use in supporting expeditionary deployments.[76]

Commercial interest

In the mid-1990s, McDonnell Douglas began to market the C-17 to commercial civilian operators, under the name MD-17.[77] Due to its high projected fuel, maintenance and depreciation cost for a low-cycle military design in commercial service, as well as a limited market dominated by the An-124, very little interest was expressed. After McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing, the commercial version was renamed BC-17.[78] However, the aircraft received no orders and Boeing stopped offering the BC-17 for sale.

Variants

  • C-17A: The initial military airlifter version.
  • C-17A "ER": Unofficial name for C-17As with extended range due to the addition of the center wing tank.[25][79] This upgrade was incorporated in production beginning in 2001 with Block 13 aircraft.[79]
  • C-17B: Proposed tactical airlifter version. The design includes double-slotted flaps, an additional main landing gear on center fuselage, more powerful engines and other systems for shorter landing and take-off distances.[80] Boeing offered the C-17B to the US military in 2007 for carrying the Army's Future Combat System (FCS) vehicles and other equipment.[81]

Operators

Current operators of the C-17 Globemaster are shown in dark blue and future operators in light blue.
RAF, RAAF and USAF C-17s and flight crews at RAF Brize Norton in June 2007
A training mission in Jan. 2007 over the Hawaiian Islands
A C-17 releases a barrage of flares. The wing-tip vortices can be seen in the flare smoke behind the aircraft.
A C-17 performs touch-and-go landings while another C-17 prepares for take-off
 Australia
 Canada
NATO
 Qatar
 United Arab Emirates
 United Kingdom
 United States

Deliveries

2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991
0 14 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 14 13 11 10 7 6 6 8 5 4 1

Sources: C-17 Globemaster III Pocket Guide,[87] Boeing IDS Major Deliveries[88]

Notable incidents

C-17 on the runway at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan on 31 January 2009 after landing with landing gear retracted.
  • On 10 September 1998, a US Air Force C-17 (AF Serial No.96-0006) suffered a landing gear failure as it landed in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, a 3,800 foot runway, to deliver Keiko the whale. The aircraft suffered damage in excess of $1 million. After receiving temporary repairs, it was flown to another city in Iceland for further repairs.[89][90]
  • On 10 December 2003, a US Air Force C-17 (AF Serial No. 98-0057) was hit by a SAM after take-off from Baghdad, Iraq. One engine was disabled and the aircraft returned for a safe landing.[91][92] The aircraft was repaired and returned to service.[93]
  • On 6 August 2005, a US Air Force C-17 (AF Serial No. 01-0196) ran off the runway at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan while attempting to land, destroying the airplane's nose and main landing gear, at the time making it the most extensively damaged C-17 to date.[94] A Boeing recovery team spent two months getting the aircraft ready to attempt a flight back to Boeing's Long Beach production facility.[95] The five day flight back to the United States had to be performed by a test pilot, because the temporary repairs done to the aircraft resulted in numerous performance limitations.[96] The aircraft repair was completed at Long Beach in October 2006 and the aircraft has reentered normal operations. The aircraft underwent the Block 16 upgrade in December 2007.
  • On 30 January 2009 a US Air Force C-17 (AF Serial No. 96-0002 - "Spirit of the Air Force") made a belly landing at Bagram Air Base.[97][98] As of 29 April 2009, the aircraft had successfully flown out of Bagram AB and arrived at Nova Scotia for an overnight stay after making several stops along the way. It was limited to flying under 10,000 ft and a speed of no more than 250 knots. The aircraft has since been ferried back to Boeing's plant in Long Beach, California for more permanent repairs. It is expected to return to service once the repairs are completed.

Specifications (C-17)

C-17 in an Aeromedical Evacuation configuration

Data from USAF fact sheet,[3] Boeing,[99][100] and AerospaceWeb[101]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3: 2 pilots, 1 loadmaster
  • Capacity:
    • 102 troops with standard centerline seats or
    • 134 troops with palletized seats or
    • 36 litter and 54 ambulatory patients or
    • Cargo, such as an M1 Abrams tank
  • Payload: 170,900 lb (77,519 kg) of cargo distributed at max over 18 463L master pallets or a mix of palletized cargo and vehicles
  • Length: 174 ft (53 m)
  • Wingspan: 169.8 ft (51.75 m)
  • Height: 55.1 ft (16.8 m)
  • Wing area: 3,800 ft² (353 m²)
  • Empty weight: 282,500 lb (128,100 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 585,000 lb (265,350 kg)
  • Powerplant:Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofans, 40,440 lbf (180 kN) each
  • Fuel capacity: 35,546 US gal (134,556 L)

Performance

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

References

Notes

  1. ^ "India Requests Boeing C-17s", Space Daily, 15 January 2010
  2. ^ Call To Preserve Industrial Base: Boeing
  3. ^ a b c d e C-17 fact sheet. US Air Force, October 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Boeing Delivers Canada's First C-17"
  5. ^ "Multinational Alliance's 1st Boeing C-17 Joins Heavy Airlift Wing in Hungary". Boeing, 27 July 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Boeing Delivers Qatar's 1st C-17 Globemaster III" Boeing, 11 August 2009
  7. ^ a b Trimble, Stephen. "UAE strengthens airlift capacity with C-130J, C-17 deals". Flight International, 25 February 2009.
  8. ^ Kennedy 2004, p. 3-20.
  9. ^ a b c Norton 2001, pp. 12-13.
  10. ^ Historical Realities of C-17 Program
  11. ^ a b RL30685 "Military Airlift: C-17 Aircraft Program". Congressional Research Service, 5 June 2007.
  12. ^ GAO Testimony before the SubCommittee on Military Acquisition
  13. ^ a b GAO Comparison of C-5 and C-17 Airfield Availability
  14. ^ C-17 Cost and Performance Issues
  15. ^ C-17 Globemaster Support of Operation Joint Endevour
  16. ^ Air Force Secretary Says Modernization, C-17 on Track, Air Force magazine, 19 September 1995.
  17. ^ Boeing Company Funds Extension, Boeing, web page revised 9 July 2008.
  18. ^ Analysis of Senate May 2008 Iraq-Afghanistan Supplemental War Funding for DOD. Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, 21 May 2008.
  19. ^ "Bush Signs $162 Billion Supplemental War Funding Bill". US DoD, 30 June 2008.
  20. ^ a b "Boeing in $3bn air force contract". Flight International, 10 February 2009. Retrieved: 10 February 2009.
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Bibliography

  • Kennedy, Betty R. Globemaster III: Acquiring the C-17, Air Mobility Command Office of History, 2004.
  • Norton, Bill. Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Specialty Press, 2001. ISBN 1-58007-061-2.

External links


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