7th C-17 for R.A.F.
Boeing and its Boeing Defence UK subsidiary today announced the arrival of the Royal Air Force`s seventh C-17 Globemaster III airlifter at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England. The aircraft was officially delivered on Nov. 16 from Boeing`s facility in Long Beach, Calif., and underwent modifications at the company`s San Antonio facility before flying to the United Kingdom.
``The RAF C-17 fleet, along with the rest of the Airbridge, delivers an incredible capability to our deployed forces on the front line,`` said Air Officer Commanding 2 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Philip Osborn, Royal Air Force. ``I am also extremely proud of the outstanding contribution that all our aircraft and personnel are making toward continued progress in Afghanistan.``
Assigned to 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton, the UK fleet of C-17s provides critical airlift capability for the nation`s Joint Rapid Reaction Force and has supported humanitarian and disaster-relief missions to Pakistan, Haiti and Chile. 99 Squadron`s C-17s are equipped with upgraded software and avionics, as well as additional fuel tanks that extend the aircraft`s nautical mile range to over 4,000 miles. In normal operations, the aircraft carries a crew of three -- two pilots and one air-loadmaster.
``May 2011 will mark the 10th anniversary of the delivery of the Royal Air Force`s first C-17, which continues to perform superbly -- anytime and anywhere,`` said Boeing UK C-17 Program Manager Liz Pace. ``The RAF uses its C-17s more than any other service today, which is why it has surpassed 60,000 flight hours with just six aircraft.``
The UK Ministry of Defence announced it would acquire its seventh C-17 in December 2009, less than one year before delivery.
Boeing supports the RAF`s C-17s through the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership, a performance-based logistics program, at RAF Brize Norton, the RAF`s main operating base for strategic air transport and air-to-air refueling. The arrangement provides the RAF with the benefits of complete ``virtual fleet`` access and an extensive support network. The virtual fleet concept enables C-17 customers, especially those with smaller numbers of aircraft, to benefit from worldwide parts availability and economies of scale when purchasing materials.