Big plane, big contract

Boeing and the US Air Force have announced the signing of a $9.7 billion follow-on procurement contract for 60 C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft.

Boeing and the U.S. Air Force have announced the signing of a $9.7 billion follow-on procurement contract for 60 C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft.

Since its first flight in 1991, Boeing has delivered 89 C-17s to the US Air Force, whose personnel are said to have amassed more than 300,000 hours in the aircraft, flying global airlift in support of both combat and humanitarian missions.

‘The C-17 is uniquely adapted to the challenges faced by today’s transforming military, which needs to mobilise forces quickly and effectively-whether against military adversaries or natural disasters,’ said George Muellner, vice president and general manager, Air Force Systems, a business unit of Boeing Integrated Defence Systems.

The C-17 measures 53 metres feet long with a wingspan of 51.75 metres. The aircraft is powered by four, fully reversible, Federal Aviation Administration-certified F117-PW-100 engines (the military designation for the commercial Pratt & Whitney PW2040), currently used on the Boeing 757. Each engine is rated at 40,440 pounds of thrust.

The C-17 can reportedly take off and land on runways as short as 914 metres long and 27.4 metres wide. On such narrow runways, the C-17 can turn around using a three-point star turn and its backing capability.

The additional aircraft will bring the total number of C-17s in the U.S. Air Force fleet to 180.