Sorin C-17 Globemaster Page

C-17 Globemaster

C-17 Globemaster

Year of production:

77 tones or 102 paratroopers

Units in service:
134 in active service
8, Air National Guard
8, Air Force Reserve

202 million dollars

Models known:
C-17A Globemaster

US Air Force, US Air National Guard, UK, Canada, Australia, UAE, Qatar, NATO

The C-17 Globemaster primarily performs the intratheater portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for paradropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.

The C-17 made its first flight on 15 September, 1991. The first aircraft to enter active service did so at Charleston AFB, South Carolina, on 14 June 1993.

At Charleston AFB, the 17th Airlift Squadron became operational on the 17th of january 1995. Seven squadrons of C-17s existed at Charleston AFB, plus more aircraft at McChord AFB in Washington and Altus AFB in Oklahoma. The Air National Guard keeps its C-17's at Jacksonville, Mississippi.

In august 2005, March AFB in California begun receive its first C-17's, and in february 2006 Hickam AFB in Hawaii received its first C-17 as well.

The original plans were to purchase 120 aircraft, but the C-17 Globemaster III made such a good impression on the Air Force, that the Pentagon has approved an increase on that figure. As such, in the mid 2000's it was decided to approve the budget for the purchase of 180 C-17's, one third more than originally planned for.

The US Air Force operates most of the C-17s, and they are part of its Air Mobility Command, together with C-5 Galaxy and C-130 Hercules, as well as other transport aircraft.

The 437th Airlift Wing from Charleston AFB, South Carolina, the 62nd Airlift Wing from McChord AFB, Washington, the 305th Air Mobility Wing from McGuire AFB, New Jersey are the Air Force Wings which use the C-17. Additionally, the 172nd Airlift Wing from the National Guard, deployed in Mississippi, the 315th Airlift Wing (USAF) and the 446th Airlift Wing (USAF), both on Reserve, also employ the aircraft.

A C-17 from the US National Air Guard's 172nd Airlift Wing visited Romania in 2005, and transported 35,000 combat helmets donated by the Romanian military to Afghanistan. The aircraft flew non-stop between Mihail Kogalniceanu AFB (LRCK) and Kabul International. After the flight, the crew had a leisure walk in the city of Constanta, which they say they enjoyed. The next morning, the aircraft returned to the United States.

The C-17 Globemaster III is the newest, most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the US Air Force and represents an adition increase into what was already a highly capable airlift force. 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 can perform tactical airlift and airdrop missions and can also transport litters and ambulatory patients during aeromedical evacuations when required.

The aircraft has a mission completion success probability rate of 92 percent, which is quite high. Amazingly, only 20 aircraft maintenance man-hours per flying hour are needed for the C-17, which is a very good figure and is lower than even some single or twin-engine aircraft, smaller in size than the C-17.

Full and partial mission availability rates stand at 74.7 and 82.5 percent, respectively.

The C-17 is 53 meters long, and has a wingspan of 51.75 meters. The aircraft is powered by four, fully reversible, Pratt&Whitney F117-PW-100 engines (commercial designation Pratt & Whitney PW2040), currently used on the Boeing 757. Each engine is rated at 40,440 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, namely one pilot, one copilot and a 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 equipment, ranging from Humvee's to APC's.

The C-17 has a maximum payload of 77,519, and its maximum takeoff weight is 265,352 kilograms. With a payload of 76,657 kg and an initial cruise altitude of 8,500 meters, the C-17 has a range of approximately 2,400 nautical miles. Its cruise speed is approximately 450 knots (0.76 Mach), almost the same as the C-5 (with 0.77).

The C-17 is designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers and equipment. The design of the aircraft allows it to operate through small, austere airfields. The C-17 can take off and land on runways as short as 1,064 meters long and 27 meters wide. Even on such narrow runways, the C-17 can turn around using a three-point star turn and its backing capability.

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All pictures are provided by the United States of America Air Force