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Boeing C-17 Globemaster III

The C-17 Globemaster III is the newest, most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force. The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. The plane was originally a McDonnell-Douglas aircraft, but is now designated the Boeing C-17 after the merger of the two companies.

USAF C-17 Globemasters on the flightline, Moses Lake, Washington. December 2015. USAF Photo
USAF C-17 Globemasters on the flightline, Moses Lake, Washington. December 2015. USAF Photo

The C-17 carries the name of two previous piston-engined military cargo aircraft, the Douglas C-74 Globemaster and the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II. The C-17 commonly performs strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world; additional roles include tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop duties.

The C-17 made its maiden flight on Sepember 15, 1991, and the first production model was delivered to Charleston Air Force Base, now known as Joint Base Charleston, S.C., on June 14, 1993. The first squadron of C-17s, the 17th Airlift Squadron, was declared operationally ready in January of 1995.

The C-17 is 174 feet long and has a wingspan of about 170 feet. It can airlift cargo fairly close to a battle area. The C-17 is powered by four fully reversible Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines,

Maximum payload capacity of the C-17 is 170,900 pounds, and its maximum gross takeoff weight is 585,000 pounds.

The C-17 is designed to operate from runways as short as 3,500 ft and as narrow as 90 ft. In addition, the C-17 can operate from unpaved, unimproved runways

The aircraft is operated by a crew of three (pilot, co-pilot and loadmaster), reducing manpower requirements.

As of 2015, the USAF inventory was as follows: Active duty, 187; Air National Guard, 12; Air Force Reserve, 14.

The Globemaster is used not only by the United States Air Force, but other allies as well, such as the Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force and NATO.

C-17 Globemaster III Photos

U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III 5151 of the 15th AW, 154th WG
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force
U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III 5151 of the 15th AW, 154th WG
U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Artic Thunder Air Show, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska
Photo courtesy of Alaska Professional Photography
U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III