C-17 Globemaster III

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The C-17 Globemaster III is the newest and most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force. The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of all types of cargo to any base. The fundamental flexibility and performance characteristics of the C-17 force improve the ability of the total airlift system to fulfill the worldwide air mobility requirements of the United States.

The C-17 made its first flight on 15 September 1991 and the first production model was delivered on 14 June 1993. The Air Force is programmed to receive a total of 120 C-17s by the year 2005.

The C-17 measures approximately 174 feet long with a wingspan of 169 feet, 10 inches. The aircraft is powered by four fully reversible Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 engines similar to the ones used on the Boeing 757. Each engine is rated at 40,440 pounds of thrust.

The aircraft is operated by a crew of three. Cargo is loaded onto the C-17 through a large aft door that accommodates military vehicles and palletized cargo. The maximum payload capacity of the C-17 Globemaster III is 170,900 pounds, and its maximum gross takeoff weight is 585,000 pounds. The C-17 has an unrefueled range of approximately 2,400 nautical miles. Its cruise speed is approximately 450 knots. The design of the aircraft allows it to operate through small airfields. The C-17 can take off and land on runways as short as 3,000 feet and as narrow as 90 feet wide.

C-17 Specifications
Primary FunctionCargo and troop transport
ContractorBoeing Company
Power PlantFour Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines
Thrust40,440 pounds, each engine
Length174 feet (53 meters)
Height55 feet 1 inch (16.79 meters)
Wingspan169 feet 10 inches (to winglet tips) (51.76 meters)
Cargo Compartmentlength, 88 feet (26.82 meters); width, 18 feet (5.48 meters); height, 12 feet 4 inches (3.76 meters)
Speed450 knots at 28,000 feet (8,534 meters) (Mach .74)
Service Ceiling45,000 feet at cruising speed (13,716 meters)
RangeGlobal with in-flight refueling
CrewThree (two pilots and one loadmaster)
Maximum Peacetime Takeoff Weight585,000 pounds (265,352 kilograms)
Load102 troops/paratroops; 48 litter and 54 ambulatory patients and attendants; 170,900 pounds (77,519 kilograms) of cargo (18 pallet positions)
Date DeployedJune 1993
Unit Cost$180 million (FY96 constant dollars)


All Information gathered from Air Force Link.