Boeing C-17 of No 99 Squadron
* Can carry outsize loads
* Ability to use rough, unprepared landing strips
* 'Glass cockpit' with 'fly-by'wire' control systems
Four Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft are being leased from the manufacturer to fill a requirement identified in the Strategic Defence Review for a strategic airlift capability for the RAF. The initial length of the lease is 7 years with an option for a possible extension to 9 years. The aircraft has an outsize load capability and, although it has the ability to operate from unprepared strips, it is used purely as a strategic transport aircraft to established bases. The C-17 is also in service with the United States Air Force and has seen action in many areas of the world and made its RAF operational debut during the Afghanistan conflict in 2001.
Engines: Four Pratt and Whitney F117 turbofans
Length: 174ft 0in (53.04m)
Wingspan: 165ft 0in (50.29m)
Top Speed: 403 mph (648 km/h)
Accommodation: Crew of two pilots and one loadmaster. Maximum of 154 troops. Normal load of 102 fully-equipped troops, up to 172,200lb (78,108 kg) on up to 18 standard freight pallets or 48 litters in the medevac role.
The C-17 first flew in September 1991 and the first deliveries to the US Air Force were made in June 1993. The aircraft features many advanced features such as winglets, a highly efficient wing and high-performance engines. The aircraft's excellent short field performance is achieved by extending the wing flaps into the jet efflux - a principle first proposed on the C-17s ill-fated predecessor, the YC-15, some years before. The C-17 also features a 'glass' cockpit with head-up displays and multi-function screens instead of switches and dials and 'fly-by-wire' control systems.
The leased aircraft are operated by No 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
* Strategic Air Transport (AT). The movement of personnel and support equipment over long distances.
Picture added on 08 June 2006