Boeing C-17A Globemaster III

Boeing C-17A Globemaster III US Air Force

The Boeing (former McDonnell Douglas) C-17A Globemaster III is a high-wing, T-tailed aircraft with a rear loading ramp. The C-17 is intended as a replacement for the Lockheed C-141 Starlifters of the US Air Force. The program has a long and convoluted history, beginning with the selection of McDonnell Douglas as the winner of the C-X cargo aircraft competition on August 28, 1981. Assembly of the first aircraft was completed in December 1990. The first flight of the C-17A (87-0025) was on September 15, 1991 , from the manufacturer’s Long Beach , California , facility to Edwards Air Force Base where developmental testing was to begin.

The initial production aircraft followed on May 18, 1992. Also, two static test airframes were built, beginning their test programs in November 1991 and the second quarter of 1992 respectively. Development flight testing was completed in December 1994, by which time some 16 aircraft were already delivered. Initial operational capability was achieved on January 17, 1995 by the 17th Airlift Squadron at Charleston AFB in North Carolina

During flight-testing at Edwards Air Force Base, CA., C-17s set 33 world records – more than any other airlifter in history – including payload to altitude, time-to-climb, and short-takeoff-and-landing marks in which the C-17 took off in less than 427 meters, carried a payload of 20.000 kg to altitude, and landed in less than 427 meters.

The C-17A aircraft can be configured for cargo, paratroopers, combat troops, hospital litter patients, or combinations of all of these. The C-17A is intended for strategic airlift and delivery of cargoes by landing on unimproved runways close to the battlefield, but can be employed for LAPES (low-altitude parachute extraction system) delivery of cargo.

A cockpit crew of two and one loadmaster operates the C-17, which can be refuelled in flight. This cost-effective flight crew complement is made possible through the use of an advanced digital avionics system and advanced cargo systems.

The four engines are Pratt & Whitney PW2040 series turbofans, designated as F117-PW-100 by the Air Force, each producing 18.382 kg of thrust. The engines are equipped with directed-flow thrust reversers capable of deployment in flight. On the ground, a fully loaded aircraft, using engine reversers, can back up a two-percent slope.The C-17 fleet has amassed nearly one million flying hours and in the global war on terrorism, has flown combat missions for nearly 1.600 consecutive days.

Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A7-MAA Qatar Emiri Air Force
Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A7-MAA Qatar Emiri Air Force

There are currently 232 C-17s in service worldwide — 22 with international customers. The U.S. Air Force, including active Guard and Reserve units, has 210. Other international customers include the Qatar Emiri Air Force, the UK Royal Air Force, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.

Boeing C-17A Globemaster III in combat:

Boeing C-17s have been involved in numerous contingency operations, including flying troops and equipment to Operation Joint Endeavour to support peacekeeping in Bosnia, Allied Force Operation in Kosovo, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Developing Nation: United States of America.
Designer: McDonnell Douglas.
Manufacturer Boeing.
Production line: Long Beach, California.
Task: Strategic airlift.
First Flight: September 15, 1991, 87-0025.
First Delivery: June 1993.
First Operational: January 17, 1995 by the 17th Airlift Squadron at Charleston AFB in North Carolina.
Crew: 2 on the flight deck plus loadmaster.
Wing Span: 51,74 m.
Wing Area: 353 m².
Length: 53,04 m.
Fuselage diameter: 6,86 m.
Height: 16,79 m.
Wheel track: 10,26 m.
Wheelbase: 20,05 m.
Cabin floor length: 26,82 m including ramp (6,05 m).
Cabin floor diameter: 5,49 m.
Cabin height: – 4,50 m maximum.
– 3,76 m under wing carry-through.
Cargo volume: 591,8 m³.
Engine (s): 4 x Pratt & Whitney PW2040 (F117-PW-100)turbofans each rated 179.9 kN.
Weight: – empty: 12.5645 Kg.
– empty: 127685 kg from aircraft 71 with additional fuel tanks.
– max. ramp weight:  265.800 kg.
– fuel: 102.530 liter.
– fuel: 138.870 liter from aircraft 71 with additional fuel tanks.
– max. payload: 77.293 Kg.
Max. Take off weight: 265.350 kg.
Cruise speed: 785 – 817 Km/h.
Max. cruise at low altitude: 650 km/h.
Airdrop speed: 210 – 460 km/h.
Approach speed: 213 km/h.
Max. range: – 4.445 km with 72.575 kg at load factor of 2,25 g.
– 5.185 km with 68.040 kg at load factor of 2,25 g.
– 5.278 km with 54.421 kg at load factor of 2,5 g.
– 7.630 km with 36.290 kg.
– 8.150 km with 18.145 kg.
– 8.705 km with no payload (ferry flight).
– 9.815 km with 18.145 kg, newer aircraft with more tanks.
– 11.575 km with no payload (ferry flight), newer aircraft with more tanks.
Performance: – take-off run 2.360 m at max. take-off weight.- landing run 915 m at max. landing weight.
Boeing C-17A Globemaster III operators:
United States Air Force.
  • – Edwards AFB, (California).
  •  412th Test Wing.
  • 417th Test Squadron.
  • Altus AFB (Oklahoma).
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing, a training unit.
  • 58th Airlift Squadron, reactivated in January 1996.
  • Charleston AFB (South Carolina).
  • 315th Airlift Wing (Air Force Reserve).
  • 300th Airlift Squadron.
  • 317th Airlift Squadron.
  • 701st Airlift Squadron.
  • 437th Airlift Wing.
  • 14th Airlift Squadron.
  • 15th Airlift Squadron.
  • 16th Airlift Squadron, reactivated on 26 July 2002.
  • 17th Airlift Squadron, was the first C-17A squadron.
  • – Jackson (Mississippi).
  • 172nd Airlift Wing, Air National Guard.
  • McChord AFB (Washington).
  • 62nd Airlift Wing.
  • 4th Airlift Squadron.
  • 7th Airlift Squadron.
  • 8th Airlift Squadron.
  • 10th Airlift Squadron.
  • 446th Airlift Wing (Air Force Reserve Command).
  • 97th Airlift Squadron.
  • 313th Airlift Squadron.
  • 728th Airlift Squadron.
  • Hickam AFB (Hawaii).
  • 15th Airlift Wing.
  • 535th Airlift Squadron.
Royal Air Force. 4 leased. These are operated by 99 Squadron at Brize Norton.
Royal Australian Air Force. Has ordered 4 C-17’s to be operated by 36 sqn.  Delivery first one end 2006 with all 4 in 2008.


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