RAF C-17A Globemaster
The four-jet C-17 Globemaster III, originally a McDonnell Douglas product but now a Boeing aircraft, first flew in September 1991 and came into operational US Air Force service during 1995. This impressive machine combines long-range strategic transport capabilities with the short-field and rough-strip attributes of a tactical airlifter. RAF C-17 operations began in 2001 when the first of four leased examples was delivered to No 99 Squadron at Brize Norton. Those four aircraft have now been purchased outright at the end of the lease, and four more examples procured. On operations throughout the world, the C-17 is able to carry a wide range of air-transportable outsize equipment, including a Chinook or three Apache helicopters, three Warrior armoured vehicles or up to 13 Land Rovers. These capabilities have been much in use given the UK's recently military commitments, which have seen the RAF C-17s heavily tasked in Afghanistan and Iraq amongst other theatres. This year, No 99 Squadron has supported relief efforts after the earthquake in Nepal, the delivery of humanitarian aid being another of the type's tasks.