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The Boeing C-17A Globemaster III isa four-engined large strategic transport aircraft that forms the backbone of the US Air Forces strategic air lift forces. The aircraft harks back to the McDonnell Douglas YC-15 demonstrator of the early 1980s which won the C-X contract in the US. The C-17 was originally developed by McDonnell Douglas who then merged with Boeing in 1997. The C-17 has been designed to operate from short and narrow airfields utilising advanced blown air flaps giving it excellent STOL performance. The type can also operate from unpaved airstrips, when necessary, a capability the USAF practice in the Nevada desert on a regular basis.
Following the cancellation of the short-term strategic airlift competition during 1999, in May 2000 the UK announced that it would lease an initial fleet of four C-17s directly from Boeing. The lease requirements meant that the aircraft were maintained and upgraded to USAF standards but could not be used for tactical reasons including air drops, low level flight or air to air refuelling. In 2004 the UK acquired outright the four C-17s in response to delays with the A400M program. Between 2006 and 2012 a further four C-17s were purchased bringing the total fleet to eight aircraft - all based at RAF Brize Norton.
The RAF will be providing one of their Globemasters for static display at this year's Air Tattoo. The aircraft will be provided by 99 Squadron.
Photo Credit: Jamie Hunter