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C-17 A Globemaster III


The C-17 is a multi-service, high-wing, 4-engine, T-tailed military-transport aircraft, which can carry large equipment, supplies and troops directly to small airfields in harsh terrain anywhere in the world day or night.

A fully integrated electronic cockpit and advanced cargo systems allow a crew of three; the pilot, co-pilot and loadmaster, to operate all systems on any type of mission.

The massive, sturdy, long-haul aircraft tackles distance, destination and heavy, oversized payloads in unpredictable conditions.

The decision to lease four C-17 aircraft for some 771m from Boeing was taken in 2001, and the aircraft entered service in 2001. The lease was for a period of seven years, with the option to buy or extend at the end of that period.

The option to buy the leased aircraft was exercised in August 2006 together with signature of the contract to procure a fifth new C-17 aircraft which was delivered in April 2008. A sixth C-17 was ordered as a result of a 130 million contract signed in December 2007 and was delivered in July 2008.


The C-17 fleet is capable of the deployment of 1,400 tonnes of freight over 3,200 miles in a seven day period. The aircraft is able to carry one Challenger 2 MBT, or a range of smaller armoured vehicles, or up to three WAH-64 Apache aircraft at one time. Over 150 troops can be carried. In-flight refuelling increases the aircraft range.

The UK Royal Air Force has six C-17s, which have, between them, flown more than 22 million nautical miles in their eight years of service. Since entering service in mid 2001, the UK C-17 fleet has been continuously employed in support of ongoing coalition operations, routine tasking and humanitarian relief.

The C-17 is in service with No 99 Squadron based at Brize Norton. No 99 Sqn has some 158 flight crew and ground staff.

C-17 GLOBEMASTER Specifications


2 pilots and 1 loadmaster


Maximum of 154 troops

Normal load of 102 fully-equipped troops, up to 172,200lb (78,108 kg) on up to 18 standard freight pallets or 48 litters in the medevac role

Cargo Box

Length 20.78m


Width 5.49m

Length Overall


Height Overall

16.8 m



Loadable width


Cruising Speed

648 kph/403 mph

Range (max payload)

4,444 km/2,400 miles


4 x Pratt and Whitney F117 turbofans

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