UK Government

Ministry Of Defence: Seventh heaven for Royal Air Force

Press Release   •   Dec 22, 2009 15:54 GMT

Contracts have been signed for the RAF’s seventh C17 aircraft the MoD announced today.  The new strategic transport aircraft will add to a fleet that has seen heavy usage during recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Boeing C17 Globemaster can operate in both strategic and tactical roles, combining trans-continental range with the ability to operate from short runways under basic conditions.

The C17’s huge capacity enables carriage of loads such as a Chinook helicopter or thirteen Land Rovers, or mixed freight loads of up to 160,000 lbs.  The new C17 aircraft will join the rest of the fleet at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire when it enters service with the RAF in March 2011 after it has been fitted with self-protection measures.

This additional C17 is part of the £900M package of enhancements for operations over the next three years announced by the Defence Secretary, Bob Ainsworth, last week.

Defence Secretary, Bob Ainsworth, said:

“Afghanistan remains our top priority and this extra C17 represents a major contribution to the strategic airlift directly supporting our troops in Afghanistan. Since its entry into service in 2001, the UK’s C17 fleet has provided outstanding performance in RAF service in support of operations, humanitarian relief and routine tasks. The additional aircraft will allow our strategic transport capacity to be expanded during a period of intensive coalition operations.”

Officer Commanding 99 Squadron, Wing Commander Simon Edwards, said:

“The operational record of the C17 is unsurpassed. The current fleet of six aircraft deliver an incredible capability to our deployed forces and the announcement of a seventh aircraft will mean a great deal not only to the RAF but to the soldiers on the front line. There is no better way – and often no other way – to get vital equipment such as helicopters and large vehicles, such as Mastiff, where they are needed and when they are needed.”

Managing Director Boeing Defence UK, Mike Kurth, said:

"We're committed to supporting the UK's capability to provide an airbridge to the frontline.”

Six RAF C17s are operated by 99 Squadron from their base at RAF Brize Norton on Oxfordshire. Since the first aircraft was delivered in 2001, the RAF C17 fleet has flown well over 50,000 hours, largely in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also including humanitarian relief work in South-East Asia and Pakistan.

Notes for Editors:
1. The C-17A Globemaster is long range, heavy logistic transport aircraft. Its design characteristics give it the capability to operate into and out of short runways and basic airfields carrying large and outsized payloads.

2. It can carry a number of different equipment types. For instance it can carry a Chinook helicopter or three Apache helicopters or three Warrior vehicles or 13 Land-Rovers or even a Tornado F3 fighter.  As an example it can transport 100,000lbs of freight over 4,500 nautical miles, flying above 30,000 feet.

3. C-17 aircraft have been deployed to provide aid to those suffering from the South East Asia Tsunami and the Pakistan earthquake.  It was also used to deliver the rescue submersible to aid a stricken Russian submarine AS-28 close to the Kamchatka Peninsular.

4. The aircraft has an integrated electronic flight-deck, allowing operation by a basic crew of two pilots and one loadmaster.

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For further information please contact:

Sqn Ldr Al Green, MOD Press Office, 020 7218 1534

Madonna Walsh, Boeing UK, 020 7340 1900


NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department