Tag Archives: Globemaster

Final C-17 Globemaster leaves Long Beach

After 21 years and 279 aircraft procuded, the curtain falls for Boeing C-17 Globemaster III production in Long Beach, California. The final C-17 left the production facility on Sunday 29 November on it’s way to another Boeing facility in Texas in preparation for delivery to the Qatar Emiri Air Force next year.

Qatar is one of nine operators of the  Boeing C-17 Globemaster, the military transport aircraft that first flew on 15 September 1991 from Long Beach. The US Air Force is the largest operator by far, taking 223 aircraft. The last USAF-delivery took place in 2013.


Over the last decade, India quickly became the second largest operator, counting 10 Globemaster. Australia and the UK both operate eight aircraft. Other operators are Canada, NATO, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Along with the UAE, Qatar was one of the operators to snatch up some of the last Globemasters remaining for sale. Ahead of closing down production, Boeing decided to produce a dozen or so ‘white-tail’ C-17s; aircraft with no formal customer. Other countries to take some of these aircraft were India, Australia and Canada.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

RAAF C-17 Globemaster III (Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
An Australian C-17 Globemaster III (Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

The Raptors have landed, in Germany

UPDATE 11 September | The muscle to show Russia the United States means business has arrived. The meanest, leanest, winged US military asset has landed on Spangdahlem Airbase in Western Germany early in the evening of 28 August 2015. It marked the first deployment for the Raptor Pack as Rapid Reaction Force in Europe. Airheadsfly.com caught them on the spot.

UPDATE The Raptors headed home again on 11 September, arriving at RAF Mildenhall on their way back

Four Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors flew from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, across the Atlantic to give a clear signal that Washington is committed to the protection of its European NATO allies, although four birds don’t make a summer. Sixty airmen accompany the temporary deployment that was supported by a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifter with some necessary support equipment. The supporting tanker aircraft headed for Mildenhall airbase in the UK.

A remark at the Pentagon last week pointed to the Raptors being deployed to Europe. Their exact destination and arrival remained unknown – or better; untold – until just one day prior to their actual arrival at Spangdahlem.

(Image © Elmer van Hest)
The Raptors arrived in formation overhead the airfield. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
(Image © Elmer van Hest)
Not a lot, but at least some sunlight on this F-22. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Enemy radar
The F-22 is the world’s most advanced fighter jet currently in operational service. Costing more than 150 million dollar a piece, the US Air Force received the last of 187 ordered Raptors in 2012. The aircraft has three internal weapon bays, making it hard to detect by enemy radar as long as it keeps the weapon bays shut. The main bay can accommodate six launchers for beyond-visual-range missiles and two side bays for short-range missiles.

A F-22 Raptor climbs after take-off from the flightline on 24 November 2014 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam (Image © Airman 1st Class Amanda Morris / USAF)
RELATED POST: Raptor Pack as Rapid Reaction Force

Four launchers can be replace with racks for up to 1,000 lb (450kg) bombs or Joint Direct Attack Munition and Small-Diamater Bombs, a secondary attack option that the Raptors first fielded in a real war situation over Syria in 2014.

X-Mas Trees
However, for this Rapid Reaction kind of deployment to Germany, military radars – including Russian ones if within range – must have been able to track the F-22s all the way like they were flying X-Mas Trees. The landing birds of prey were carrying external fuel tanks that likely mess up their stealthy features completely – apart from looking aesthetically weird. But the extra wing tanks do make long-distance flights much more comfortable, when range and as few in-flight refuelling moments as possible are something to consider too.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): Final approach for this Tyndall F-22 Raptor at Spangdahlem Airbase in Germany.  (Image © Elmer van Hest)

(Image © Elmer van Hest)
The formation performed a right hand break to land at runway 05. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
(Image © Elmer van Hest)
The F-22s will probably remain in Europe for quite some time. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)
The F-22’s departure from Tyndall was also something to behold, judging by this picture. (Image © US Air Force / Airman 1st Class Sergio A. Gamboa)
Preparing for a long flight. (Image © US Air Force / Airman 1st Class Sergio A. Gamboa)

Globemasters hit 3 million

The worldwide C-17 Globemaster III fleet hit three million flight hours on Tuesday 5 May. Boeing announced the impressive litte fun fact just as C-17s see good use for relief flights to earthquake stricken Nepal, and just as the final aircraft come off the production line in Long Beach, California.

It’s been close to 24 years since the C-17’s first flight on 15 September 1991. As expected from the start, the US has been the type’s main user, in the end ordering 223 aircraft.  The 437th Air Wing at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, is by far the most experienced C-17 unit, introducing the type in operational service in 1995.

Other nations using the Globemaster are the UK (8 aircraft), Australia (6 +2 on order), Canada (5), India (10), NATO (3) , Kuwait (2) , United Arab Emirates (6) and Qatar (4). The worldwide fleet hit 2 million hours in 2010.

The Globemaster III was an air transport workhorse in nearly all major conflicts over the last two decades. The type also provided aid to countless people worldwide. A civilian version of the C-17 was considered, but never materialized.

Another remarkable fact is that those 3 million flight hours resulted in only one fatal mishap,. On 28 July 2010, an Alaska Air National Guard C-17 crashed as the aircraft was taken beyond its flight limits during a practise display, killing all four crew members. The mishap was attributed to crew error. Other C-17s have been damaged during operations in Afghanistan, but those aircraft were patched up and continue to fly.

Currently, the last of 279 Globemasters built is being readied for flight in Long Beach and Boeing has started to auction production equipment. However, five aircraft remain unsold. With defense spending set to rise as a result of current international turmoil – and natural disasters unfortunately being a fact of life – these ‘white tail’ ‘aircraft will however sure find their way to users and many more flight hours.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A US Air Force C-17. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The first Kuwait Air Force C-17 Globemaster strategic airlifter is here (Image © Boeing)
Perhaps the must colourful C-17 around, is this Kuwait Air Force aircraft. (Image © Boeing)



To the rescue in Nepal

UPDATED 28 APRIL 2015 | The strong earthquake that hit Nepal on 25 April 2015, with 7.8 on the Richter scale the country’s strongest in 80 years, has had nations scramble their resources to come to the rescue of the Himalayan state. Several countries have put part of their air forces on alert to dispatch aid and rescue / recovery teams to the areas hit.

As expected other Asian nations have responded fairly fast. According to sources in New Delhi the Indian Air Force have directed a pair of its ten Boeing C-17A Globemaster IIIs strategic airlifters to the rescue / recovery / repatriation effort, as well as a Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules, an Ilyushin IL-76 and a pair of Mil Mi-17 helicopters. The Republic of Singapore Air Force is sending three of its ten Hercules aircraft; the Pakistan Air Force sent four of its 18 C-130s and the Royal Thai Air Force committed Hercs as well. Qatar dispatched two civilian Qatar Airways Cargo Airbus A330 to Kathmandu. China sent its rescue team on an Air China Airbus A330.

Archive photo of a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 taking off from Male at the Maldives in May 2007 (Image (CC) DD, Male, Maldives)
Archive photo of a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 taking off from Male at the Maldives in May 2007 (Image (CC) DD, Male, Maldives)

Sweden initially committed a team of 72 men and women plus 12 dogs to help Nepalese authorities in the search for survivors and recovery efforts, but later decided to send 30 people and no dogs on board a civilian freighter. The team has enough supplies and essentials to be self-sufficient for two weeks and left Örebro Airport in the centre of the country at around 21:20 local time on Monday 27 April. Earlier it was thought that the bigger team would go on one of the EU/NATO’s three C-17A Globmasters based at Papa Airbase in Hungary. Sweden is one of the main users of this small pool of European airlift.

A Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10. More is here. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

The Netherlands sent a Urban Search and Rescue team of 62 men/women and 8 dogs to the area, using a Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) KDC-10. The team will depart the Netherlands on Sunday evening. Five tonnes of aid accompanies the team on board the RNLAF aircraft. The UK is sending a C-17 Globemaster and C-130 Hercules, while the US  has ordered a C-17 with 70 disaster assistance personnel and 45 square tonnes of cargo to the region.

Nepal Army Air Wing
The resources of Nepal itself are spread thin. The Nepal Army Air Wing only has a few air assets available. The fixed wing fleet consists of two Antonov AN-28 light transport aircraft, a Britten Norman BN-2 Islander utility aircraft and a Hawker Siddeley HS 748 transport aircraft.

It was daring move by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), designing and building its own utility helicopter; the Dhruv ('Polaris'). This Indian army Dhruv is seen doing a display for potential buyers. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Made in and delivered by India: the Nepal Army Air Wing operates four Dhruvs similar to this Indian Army example (Image © Elmer van Hest)

A quartet of Indian-made HAL Dhruv, four Alouette IIIs and five Mil Mi-17 “Hip” make up the mainstay of the rotary wing. It is complemented by a Eurocopter (Airbus Helicotpers) AS350 Écureuil and two Aérospatiale SA315 Alouette IIs/Lamas. A bigger Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters) AS332 Puma is configured for VIP flights. The Nepal Army has only one main base of operations, part of Kathmandu Airport, but there are at least 36 airfields spread across the country that can be used for air operations.

It is not known if and how many aircraft in Nepal have been damaged by the earthquake. Private rotary wing is available as well, but we have no numbers at this time.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): The third Boeing C-17 Globemaster III for the Indian Air Force leaving the factory plant at Long Beach for India at August 20th, 2013 (Image © Boeing)

The Chinese rescue response team to the 25 April 2015 Earthquake in Nepal arrived on board an Air China Airbus A330, similar to this one (Image (CC) Kentaro Ieomoto)
The Chinese rescue response team to the 25 April 2015 Earthquake in Nepal arrived on board an Air China Airbus A330, similar to this one (Image (CC) Kentaro Ieomoto)

Canada received her 5th Globemaster

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) accepted its fifth Boeing CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft on 30 March 2015. The aircraft was ordered, because the Ministry of Defence had money left to spend and wanted to do that wisely.

With the arrival the Canada at RCAF Base Trenton in Ontario is “increasing its flexibility to respond to both domestic and international emergencies and support a variety of missions, including humanitarian assistance, peace support and combat”, writes the Public Relations department of the RCAF. At Trenton the new aircraft with tail number 705 will join the four CC-177s – called C-17A in US Air Force service – already flown by 429 Transport Squadron / 8 Wing.

According to the Canadian MoD the additional Globemaster will extend the life expectancy of the entire fleet by about seven and a half years. Moreover, with the purchase of an additional aircraft, the RCAF is projected to have at least three Globemasters available more than 90 per cent of the time to respond to concurrent international or domestic crises. This represents an increase of approximately 25 per cent.

The current Globemaster fleet has been playing an integral role in ferrying supplies and troops to establish and resupply the Canadian camp in Kuwait during Operation Impact. It has also delivered essential materiel to CF-188 Hornet crews deployed in support of NATO as part of Operation Reassurance and the international response to the Putin regime’s aggression against Ukraine.

The Globemasters are also used to support domestic operations, including more than 75 missions to Canada’s North to deliver 1.5 million litres of fuel, seven million pounds of equipment and 3,120 personnel to locations such as Alert, Iqaluit and Resolute Bay in Nunavut.

The cost for 12 years of integrated in-service support for the additional aircraft is estimated at $30 million.

Source: Royal Canadian Air Force
Featured image (top): The fifth CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force lands for the first time at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, on 30 March 2015 (Image © Corporal Owen W. Budge, 8 Wing / RCAF)

The fifth CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force lands for the first time at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, on 30 March 2015 (Image © Corporal Owen W. Budge, 8 Wing / RCAF)
The fifth CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force lands for the first time at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, on 30 March 2015 (Image © Corporal Owen W. Budge, 8 Wing / RCAF)