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)

Brand new Globemaster for RAAF

The seventh C-17A Globemaster III aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) arrived in Australia at Amberley airbase on Wednesday 29 July, marking the fastest delivery in Australia’s C-17 fleet.

The government Down Under announced the acquisition of two additional C-17A aircraft – on top of six already in use – only last April. Total cost for the two transporters and associated equipment is 730 million USD. The eighth C-17A is planned to arrive at Amberley later this year.

Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies, AO, CSC said the acquisition of two additional C-17A aircraft will increase the Australian Defence Force’s capacity to provide vital community and humanitarian assistance.. “The C-17A fleet has been integral to recent operations including the rapid deployment of Australian forces in support of the Iraq Government , assistance in the Queensland floods, and the recovery of MH17 victims from Eastern Ukraine.”

(Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
(Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

“Under Plan Jericho, the RAAF is dedicated to developing a networked, future joint force that can respond across the spectrum – from combat to humanitarian support. An additional two C-17A aircraft will help us achieve that,” Air Marshal Davies said.

The two Globemasters delivered this year, are among the final C-17 produced by Boeing in Long Beach, California. Following Qatar’s purchase of four C-17s last month, only one Globemaster remains for sale.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top):  The RAAF’s seventh C-17 arrives Down Under. (Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence )

Qatar Air Force doubles Globemaster fleet

The Qatar Emiri Air Force is doubling its fleet of Boeing C-17A Globemaster IIIs. An agreement was signed at the Paris Air Show (PAS15) on 15 June 2015 for a second batch of four of these strategic airlifters.

Qatar was the first Middle East customer to order C-17s. Two C-17s were received in 2009, with a second two arriving in 2012. One of the C-17s is operated as a VIP airline for the royal family and the government of Qatar. This Qatar Globemaster flies in the livery of Qatar Airways, like many of the Qatar Amiri Flight.

Boeings bet to produce 10 additional C-17s on its own expense seems to pay off. With the final aircraft already in production the last Globemaster III is planned to be ready in Mid-2015. Of the last ten Canada buys one, Australia two – possibly four – and the United Arab Emirates two. That left four aircraft, with New Zealand reportedly interested and Australia possibly buying another two. Some sources say that even Sweden considers the C-17, but the country seems happy for now with the time it buys on the three NATO/EU C-17s based at Papa in Hungary.

Qatar now has snatched up four of the five remaining Globemaster. That leaves just one C-17 for Boeing to sell.

When production ends with 279 aircraft built the United States Air Force will by far stay the biggest C-17 user with 223 Globemasters, followed by the Indian Air Force with 10 aircraft. Then comes the Royal Air Force, the UAE Air Force, the Qatar Emiri Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force all having eight machines. The Royal Canadian Air Force flies five Globemasters, NATO/EU Partners stay at 3 and the Kuwait Air Force owns two.

Source: Boeing
Featured image: The second Qatar Emiri Air Force C-17A Globemaster III (Image © Boeing)

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)