C-17 Globemaster III
|Sources and Reources
The C-17 is the newest airlift aircraft to enter the Air Force's inventory. 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 aircraft is also able to perform theater airlift missions when required.
The C-17's system specifications impose a demanding set of reliability and maintainability requirements. These requirements include an aircraft mission completion success probability of 93 percent, only 18.6 aircraft maintenance manhours per flying hour, and full and partial mission capable rates of 74.7 and 82.5 percent respectively for a mature fleet with 100,000 flying hours.
The C-17 measures approximately 174 feet long with a 170-foot wingspan. The aircraft is powered by four fully reversible Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 engines (the commercial version is currently used on the Boeing 757). Each engine is rated at 40,900 pounds of thrust. The thrust reversers direct the flow of air upward and forward to avoid ingestion of dust and debris.
The aircraft is operated by a crew of three (pilot, copilot and loadmaster). Cargo is loaded onto the C-17 through a large aft door that accommodates military vehicles and palletized cargo. The C-17 can carry virtually all of the Army's air-transportable, outsized combat equipment. The C-17 is also able to airdrop paratroopers and cargo.
Maximum payload capacity of the C-17 is 170,900 pounds, and its maximum gross takeoff weight is 585,000 pounds. With a payload of 130,000 pounds and an initial cruise altitude of 28,000 feet, the C-17 has an unrefueled range of approximately 5,200 nautical miles. Its cruise speed is approximately 450 knots (.77 Mach).
The design of this aircraft lets it operate on small, austere airfields. The C-17 can take off and land on runways as short as 3,000 feet and as narrow as 90 feet wide. Even on such narrow runways, the C-17 can turn around by using its backing capability while performing a three-point star turn. Maximum use has been made of off-the-shelf and commercial equipment, including Air Force standardized avionics.
The C-17 made its maiden flight on Sept. 15, 1991. The aircraft is operated by the Air Mobility Command with initial operations at Charleston AFB, S.C., with the 437th Airlift Wing and the 315th Airlift Wing (Air Force Reserve). The C-17 program is managed by the Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
Service Life Return to Top
Based on a buy of 120 aircraft, the last C-17 delivery will be in November, 2004. The original specification from McDonnell Douglas defined a service life of 30,000 hours. Modification programs will keep the aircraft in line with current and future requirements for threat avoidance, navigation, communications, and enhanced capabilities. These modifications should include global air traffic management (GATM) and automatic dependent surveillance to meet anticipated navigation requirements. Commercially available avionics and mission computer upgrades are being investigated to reduce life-cycle costs and improve performance. Also, upgraded communication systems to enhance worldwide voice and data (including secure) transmission will support command and control.
Specifications Return to Top
|Primary Function||Cargo and troop transport|
|Prime Contractor||Boeing [McDonnell Douglas Corp.]|
|Power Plant Manufacturer||Four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW- 100 turbofan engines|
|Thrust (each engine)||40,900 pounds|
|Wingspan||170 feet 9 inches (to winglet tips) (51.81 meters)|
|Length||173 feet 11 inches (53.04 meters)|
|Height||55 feet 1 inch (16.79 meters)|
|Cargo Compartment||Length - 85 feet 2 inches (26 meters);
width - 18 feet (5.48 meters);
height - 12 feet 4 inches (3.76 meters) forward of the wing
and 13 feet 6 inches (4.11 meters) aft of the wing
|Speed||500 mph (Mach .77)|
|Service Ceiling||45,000 feet at cruising speed (13,716 meters)|
|Range||Unlimited with in-flight refueling|
|Crew||Three (two pilots and one loadmaster)|
|Maximum Peacetime Takeoff Weight||585,000 pounds (265,306 kilos)|
48 litter and 54 ambulatory patients and attendants;
170,900 pounds (76,644 kilos) of cargo (18 pallet positions)
|Date Deployed||June 1993|
Sources and Resources Return to Top
- C-17 GLOBEMASTER III - US Air Force Link Fact Sheets
- C-17 Globemaster III - Boeing Integrated Defense Systems
- Military Airlift: Options Exist for Meeting Requirements While Acquiring Fewer C-17s (Chapter Report, 02/19/97, GAO/NSIAD-97-38)
- C-17 Globemaster: Support of Operation Joint Endeavor (Letter Report, 02/14/97, GAO/NSIAD-97-50)
- C-17 Aircraft: RM&A Evaluation Less Demanding Than Initially Planned (Letter Report, 07/26/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-126)
- C-17 Aircraft: Cost of Spare Parts Higher Than Justified (Letter Report, 04/17/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-48)
- C-17 Aircraft: Comments on Air Force Request for Approval of Multiyear Procurement Authority (Testimony, 03/28/96, GAO/T-NSIAD-96-137).
- C-17 Aircraft: Cost and Performance Issues, NSIAD-95-26
- Military Airlift: Comparison of C-5 and C-17 Airfield Availability, Letter Report, 07/11/94, GAO/NSIAD-94-225
- Military Airlift: The C-17 Proposed Settlement and Program Update, (Testimony, 04/28/94, GAO/T-NSIAD-94-172)
- Military Airlift: The C-17 Program Update and Proposed Settlement, (Testimony, 04/19/94, GAO/T-NSIAD-94-166)
- Military Airlift: C-17 Settlement Is Not a Good Deal, (Letter Report, 04/15/94, GAO/NSIAD-94-141)
- Military Airlift: The C-17 Program Status and Proposed Settlement, (Testimony, 02/10/94, GAO/T-NSIAD-94-115)
- Strategic Public Affairs Plan for the Air Force's C-17 Globemaster III 1994
- The USAF C-17 Fleet: A Strategic Airlift Shortfall? Bret G. Rider (Faculty Advisor); Randall L. Long Air Command and Staff College 1997 -- The 49.7 MTM/D baseline strategic requirement established by MRS/BURU is approximately 10 MTM/D below actual demand in contingency scenarios. This 20% discrepancy lays the foundation for tailoring a C-17 force to meet an artificially depressed requirement.
- C-17 naming ceremony honors veterans November 13, 1998 (AFPN) - Air Mobility Command dedicated a C-17 Globemaster III, "The Spirit of America's Veterans."
- Total Force, the only way to fight 15 Apr 1999 Air Mobility Command Public Affairs Leadership from the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, Air Mobility Command and the United States Air Force gathered at the 375th Airlift Wing refueling pad April 13 to dedicate the "Spirit of the Total Force," a C-17 Globemaster III, to the fleet of Air Force airlifters.
- Air Force begins installation of new C-17 composite tails 12 Apr 1999 Aeronautical System Center Public Affairs -- Program managers and researchers from the Aeronautical Systems Center here, along with industry partners, have developed a new, lighter horizontal stabilizer for the C-17.
- Air Force, industry team up for quick retrofit of C-17 landing gear (AFPN) 16 December 1999 -- The Air Force, Boeing, and two Ohio companies have teamed up to dramatically reduce the time needed to retrofit landing gear on some C-17 Globemaster IIIs.
- C-17s deliver a brigade in 30 minutes or less (AFPN) 22 Feb 2000 -- Air Mobility Command C-17s will soon be able to airdrop a brigade of troops and equipment within 30 minutes, meeting the Army's goal for how long the airdrop should take. The requirement, called Strategic Brigade Airdrop, is currently met by a mix of AMC's C-141 and C-17 fleets, but will be accomplished solely by the C-17 fleet when the C-141 is retired.