The C-17 Globemaster III massive long-haul military transport aircraft has now flown more than four million flight hours, achieving this impressive milestone in 25 years of operations.
A 174-foot long aircraft was operationally introduced to the Air Force in 1995 and designed to accomplish – rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to forward operating bases throughout all areas of operation.
With its 160,000-pound (72,600-kilogram) payload, the C-17 can take off from a 7,600-foot (2,316-meter) airfield, fly 2,400 nautical miles (4,444 kilometers) and land on a small, austere airfield in 3,000 feet (914 meters) or less. The C-17 can be refueled in flight. On the ground, a fully loaded aircraft, using engine reversers, can back up a 2% slope.
During normal testing, C-17s have set 33 world records, including payload to altitude time-to-climb and the short takeoff and landing mark, in which the C-17 took off in less than 1,400 feet (427 meters), carried a payload of 44,000 pounds (20,000 kilograms) to altitude and landed in less than 1,400 feet (427 meters).
In May 1995, the C-17 received the prestigious Collier Trophy, symbolizing the top aeronautical achievement of 1994. In February 1999, President Bill Clinton presented the nation’s top award for quality — the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award — to Boeing Airlift and Tanker programs, maker of the C-17, for business excellence.
The C-17 is not only proficient in the transportation of troops and cargo but can also perform tactical airlift and airdrop missions and transport ambulatory patients during aeromedical evacuations.
For example, the U.S. Air National Guard has converted one of its C-17 Globemaster III airlifter into mobile vaccination clinic.