C-17A Globemaster III
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
15 September 1991
Also Known As: CC177
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: C-17 Globemaster III
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1993
Maiden Flight: 15 September 1991
Total Production: 271
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Description: The C-17 Globemaster III is a long range, heavyweight, strategic, cargo aircraft capable of delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. In addition, the aircraft can perform tactical airlift and airdrop missions when required. The C-17 fleet will fulfill the worldwide air mobility of the United States well into the 21st century. The C-17 cargo aircraft features high reliability (92% success rate), availability (rates of 75-82%) and low maintainability (20 hour-man maintenance per flying hour). The aircraft only needs a crew of 3-man, two pilots and one loadmaster. The cargo is loaded into the aircraft through a large aft door that accommodates military vehicles and palletized cargo. The C-17 can load even the heavyweight M1A2 Abrams main battle tank. It can airdrop up to 102 paratroopers and equipment in a single vertical assault mission.
The C-17 cargo aircraft has been specially designed to operate through small, austere airfields. It can takeoff and land on runaways as short as 914 meters and only 28 meters wide. With a payload of 160,000 pounds (72t), the C-17 can take off from a 7,600-foot (2,300+ meters) airfield, fly 2,400 nautical miles (4,400 km), and land on dirt runways in 3,000 feet (900 meters) or less. On 20 March 2006 the US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft fleet surpassed the one million flight hours mark.
The US Congress allowed the US Air Force to acquire 60 further C-17s added to an initial order for 120 aircraft. The 180 C-17s ordered by the US Air Force will be delivered by 2008. That decision was the result of airlift shortfalls detected during operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 (Afghanistan). The US Mobility Command suggested that 222 C-17s would be required to fulfill air mobility needs depending on the C-5 modernization program success. In early August 2005, the US Air Force took over the 138th C-17 Globemaster III named 'Spirit of California' and produced by Boeing. The new C-17s will be flown and maintained by the Air Force Reserve Command's 452nd Air Mobility Wing at March Air Reserve Base, California. Boeing will deliver the last of 180 C-17s ordered by the US Air Force in 2008.
In late July 2006, the US Air Force awarded Boeing a $81 million contract to include the four Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17s into the C-17 virtual fleet which provides aircraft maintenance, upgrade, and sustainment. The Australian C-17s were purchased via under a separate contract under the foreign military sales program. On 31 July 2006, the US Air Force awarded Boeing a $780 million contract for an undefinitized foreign military sales program to provide four Block 17 C-17s to the Royal Australian Air Force. First delivery was planned for November 2006; second, May 2007; third, January 2008 and fourth, February 2008. On 4 August 2006, the UK MoD announced that was purchasing the four C-17 aircraft that leases and ordering a fifth from Boeing to be delivered in 2008. The five C-17 fleet is meant to carry armored vehicles, logistics equipment and helicopters, and allow UK Armed Forces to be deployed rapidly around the world.
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