Air Force awards $2 billion contract for 10 more C-17 military cargo jets

LONG BEACH, Calif., 19 Dec. 2006. The McDonnell Douglas Corp. subsidiary of the Boeing Co. in Long Beach, Calif., won a $2 billion U.S. Air Force contract Dec. 18 for 10 Block 18 C-17 Globemaster III cargo jets with upgraded software for station keeping in formation flying.

LONG BEACH, Calif., 19 Dec. 2006. The McDonnell Douglas Corp. subsidiary of the Boeing Co. in Long Beach, Calif., won a $2 billion U.S. Air Force contract Dec. 18 for 10 Block 18 C-17 Globemaster III cargo jets with upgraded software for station keeping in formation flying.

These 10 newly ordered cargo jets are a follow-on acquisition to the original 180 C-17 aircraft, Air Force officials say. Awarding the contract was the Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

These 10 new aircraft will incorporate several improvements to the original C-17 design, including software modifications and improved station-keeping equipment used in flying formation, upgraded on-board inert gas generating system, avionics modernization package, weather radar modification, fuel system retrofit, and main landing gear deficiency corrections.

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 with unimproved runways. The aircraft is 174 feet long with a wingspan of nearly 170 feet, with four reversible jet engines.

Air Force designers made maximum use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment, including Air Force-standardized avionics. Cargo goes aboard the C-17 through a large aft door that accommodates military vehicles and palletized cargo. The aircraft can carry virtually all of the Army's air-transportable equipment.

The design of the aircraft allows it to operate through small, austere airfields. The aircraft's engine thrust reversers direct the flow of air upward and forward to avoid ingestion of dust and debris.

The C-17 can take off and land on runways as short as 3,500 feet and 90 feet wide. Even on such narrow runways, the C-17 can turn around using a three-point star turn and its backing capability. Work to finish building these 10 newly ordered aircraft is to be finished by October 2009.

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