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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.
The USAF operate of a fleet of 157 C-17s from 16 different bases throughout the USA, including from Hawaii. The first aircraft were delivered to Charleston AFB during 1993 and was cleared for operational use in 1995. The C-17 is capable of carrying nearly all of the US Army's air portable assets including the Abrams Main Battle Tank. During the 2021 evacuation of Afghanistan, a single USAF C-17 evacuated 823 in a single flight, strapping them to the floor of the aircraft. This act of heroism earned the crew the Distinguished Flying Cross.
The 701st Airlift Squadron Charleston AFB will once again be providing one of their C-17s for static display at this year's Air Tattoo.
Photo Credit: Paul Morrison