Air servicemen from across the world will recognize the sight of the C-17 Globemaster III making its way across the sky. From performing airlifts to medical evacuations, this stalwart still contributes as much to air force operations across the world as it did when it was officially launched in the 1990s.
So what’s the secret to the C-17’s success?
C-17 Globemaster III Origins and Development
Plans for the C-17 first surfaced during the 1970s as the U.S. Air Force began to look at replacing the C-130 Hercules tactical cargo aircraft which had served them so well.
But by 1980, the need to shift some the workload burden off the aging C-141 Starlifter and the C-5 Galaxy planes increased the urgency to find a transport plane that could perform multiple roles.
In 1981 the contract was awarded to McDonell Douglas (which merged with Boeing in 1997) to develop and produce the C-17. However, due to a series of governmental and testing delays, the first C-17 wasn’t declared operational until January of 1995.
One of the biggest issues surrounding the development of the C-17 was repeated failures in the load testing stage. The first failure occurred in October 1992. The wings failed at 128% of the designed limit load, failing to meet the 150% requirement. Both wings buckled rear to the front and failures occurred in stringers, spars and ribs.
After some $100 million was invested into redesigning the wing structure, they failed a second test in September 1993, this time at 145%. However, a later review found the test was incorrectly undertaken and that C-17 was in fact in accordance with the 150% requirement.
C-17 Globemaster III Specifications
The C-17 differs quite significantly from the C-130 Hercules it was supposed to replace. We say “supposed” because there are still hundreds of C-130 variants still in operation today.
The length of the Globemaster III is 174 feet (53m), which is almost double the 97 feet the Hercules comes in at. The wingspan is also larger at 169 feet, which is 37 feet longer than its closely-related counterpart.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference between the two is in the engines. The C-17 uses Pratt and Whitney turbofans as opposed the iconic turboprops associated with the Hercules aircraft.
For cargo operations the Globemaster III operates a crew of just three, comprised of: pilot, co-pilot, and loadmaster. The maximum payload for this aircraft is 170,900 pounds and it has a maximum takeoff weight of just under 600,000 pounds.
The range of the C-17 is as much as 2,400 nautical miles (2,800 on later variants) and it cruises at a speed of 450 knots (830k m/h).
The C-17 first saw action in the late 1990s during the Kosovo War, specifically during Operation Allied Force, a NATO campaign against Yugoslav forces. The C-17 flew half of all the strategic airlift missions during the conflict, with the aircraft praised for its flexibility.
Subsequently, the C-17 undertook its first paratrooper mission during the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. 1,000 U.S. service members were parachuted into the Kurdish-controlled area of northern Iraq during Operation Northern Delay.
After its first successfully completed paratrooper mission, the C-17 continued to play a crucial role throughout the conflicts in this region that spanned both the 2000s and early 2010s. The C-17 achieved particular distinction during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.
More recently, C-17s were instrumental to the humanitarian relief efforts in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The Globemaster III also holds the current distinction of transporting Presidential vehicles (including the Presidential Limousine) when he travels to foreign countries.
During the course of its military service, the C-17 has broken an impressive 22 payload records.
Pay Tribute to One of the Greatest Transportation Planes of All Time
With the C-17 Globemaster III set to be phased out in the 2030s, this is your chance to get your hands on a unique homage to what is one of the most-loved cargo planes of all time. You could also add to your transportation fleet with the C-130 Hercules or its sister aircraft the KC-130(J).
Whatever you decide, this aircraft is certain to brighten up any room and evoke the scenes of the many operations undertaken in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan.
So what are you waiting for?
With a 100% money-back guarantee and lightning fast shipping, there’s nothing to lose by getting your hands on your very own C-17 Globemaster III lamp today!