The C-17 Globemaster III is a military transport airplane with a high wing, four engines and an unusual T-tail. Its primary mission is to transport troops, supplies, and/or over-sized equipment anywhere in the world in daylight or at night. It has high adaptability for various missions, in part because the C-17 can use paved or unpaved runways.
In addition, the C-17 uses a special flap system to enable it to make short-field landings. Because the C-17 Globemaster III can operate from relatively short airfields, the cargo plane is especially valuable during military, peacekeeping, and humanitarian relief missions when long runways are often not available. The C-17 has long-range capability even when carrying heavy loads though it can also take advantage of mid-air refueling when it’s available.
The C-17 Globemaster can carry a payload of up to 160,000 pounds comprised of personnel, cargo, or a combination of the two. Its enormous size permits the loading of two rows of tanks or one load of three Bradley infantry-fighting vehicles. The Globemaster is often used at the beginning of engagements to quickly bring needed equipment and personnel to the battle zone.
The U.S. Air Force initially purchased 180 of the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from Boeing, with the delivery taking place in 2008. As at January 2010, a total of 212 had been manufactured and delivered to the U.S. Air Force, Canada’s Department of National Defence, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.
Cruise speed: 0.74 – 0.77 Mach
Range: 2,420 nautical miles
Length: 174 feet
Wingspan: 169.8 feet
Height: 55.1 feet
Maximum weight: 164,900 lbs
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney 40,440 pound thrust F117-PW-100 engines
Takeoff roll: 7,740 feet
Landing roll: 3,000 feet
Crew: Two flight crew and one loadmaster