Boeing has delivered the 7th C-17 Globemaster III airlifter to the Royal Air Force. The aircraft landed 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, arriving on the 21st of January.
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.
According to 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.” Boeing delivered the seventh C-17 to Britain 11 months after the UK announced tits plan to acquire an additional C-17.
Boeing supports the RAF’s C-17s through the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership, a performance-based logistics program operating from RAF Brize Norton. 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.