“I’m honored and delighted to deliver the Royal Air Force’s newest C-17 to join the fleet at Number 99 Squadron, where our seven C-17s are in constant demand flying missions in support of Defence and other government agencies’ requirements,” said RAF Wing Cmdr. David Manning, Officer Commanding 99 Squadron. “It’s a great feeling to know that we have the capability to deliver crucial supplies to the front lines with little notice, or to transport injured troops home with a better chance of survival because of the capability and flexibility of the C-17. This newest C-17 will be a welcome addition to the Air Force fleet.”
The RAF C-17s are operated by 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton. The first RAF C-17s entered service in 2001 and have surpassed 74,000 flight hours – 15 percent above the projected rate. The U.K. Ministry of Defence, citing ongoing demand, ordered additional airlifters for delivery in 2008 and 2010 and contracted for its eighth C-17 in March.
“RAF C-17s are ever-present when there’s a need for humanitarian relief or peacekeeping around the world,” said Bob Ciesla, Boeing Airlift vice president and C-17 program manager. “We’re proud to support the Royal Air Force in providing for the mobility needs of their great nation, and we are grateful for the partnership with the UK Ministry of Defence and U.S. Air Force that made this delivery possible in such a short time.”
“The RAF fleet’s airlift capacity, increased by this latest delivery, is backed by a comprehensive sustainment services program,” said Boeing Defence UK Managing Director Mike Kurth. “As part of the worldwide C-17 ‘virtual fleet,’ RAF C-17s are supported through the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program, a Performance-Based Logistics agreement. The support provided to the RAF under the GISP arrangement results in an excellent mission-capable rate at one of the lowest costs per flying hour.”
Boeing has delivered 242 C-17s worldwide, including 216 to the U.S. Air Force active duty, Guard and Reserve units. A total of 26 C-17s have been delivered to Australia, Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. India has 10 C-17s on order for delivery in 2013 and 2014.