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Boeing brings C-17 line closure forward

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 8, 2014
C-17 production will wind up in mid-2015.(Boeing)
C-17 production will wind up in mid-2015. (Boeing)

Boeing says it will now close its C-17 Globemaster III production line at Long Beach in Los Angeles in mid-2015 instead of the previously announced “late-2015” due to a slight reduction in orders.

The company says the three-month “adjustment” is based on “current market trends and the timing of expected orders.”

Boeing has delivered 262 C-17s to date, including 223 to the USAF. Foreign operators include Australia, Canada, the UK, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, India, and the eastern European Strategic Airlift Capability consortium, and a backlog of 17 aircraft is due to be delivered before the plant closes.

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12 Comments

  • Raymond

    says:

    Is the Australian Government and RAAF known to be satisfied with the quantity of C-17’s that we have?
    No chance of a last minute order for a seventh??

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      I think CAF is on the record as saying “you can never have enough airlift”! But at $220+m a pop they ain’t cheap, and the budget isn’t going to have any capacity for more of much in the foreseeable future!
      Cheers
      Andrew

  • William

    says:

    There’s currently no room on the Amberley air lift hard stand for any more large aircraft

  • Raymond

    says:

    Yes, I was just wondering whether there would be enough momentum to make any special allowances though, considering production is winding up and they seem to love the C-17 so much… not as if it will be easy to acquire extra in the future when there is more money around when they are no longer being made!

  • random

    says:

    Raymond’s point is most valid – buy now because you can. Unlikely to see any of these come on the market second hand, so this is the one and only chance to lock in another 1 or 2 aircraft. If they are the right tool then you just find the money (admittedly not easy post Labor – makes that $11 billion stimulus spending look pretty wasteful now). The only thing that may cloud that idea is the pending arrival of the Canberra class LHDs to assist and underpin strat-air-lift with strat-by-sea. The truth is however that if the LHD ship is running a full complement of helicopters, then a lot of the strat-by-sea capability is tied up in those helicopters.

  • The Road Runner

    says:

    Look at Australia’s Airlift.
    6 x C-17
    12 x C-130J
    10 x C-27J(comming soon)
    5 x A330 MRTT

    Get rid of the C-130J ,buy more C-17,A330 MRTT and C-27J
    That would be a very well rounded fleet. Use the A330/C17 to fly into Airports and unload. The C-27 could then be loaded to fly off to FOB’s.The C-17 seemed to have work very well for the ADF in Afghanistan.

    The best move the ADF made was when we were going to purchase another 2 C-130J, but opted to spend the money on an extra C-17. Their is 15(14 left) “White tails” (one of them going to Kuwait) so there is a chance Abbot could purchase some if the 2015 White paper dictates. Seeing the C-17 line is closing mid 2015 we may just scrape in a C-17 or 2 Just my humble opinion.

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      I believe the ‘white tail’ C-17s are all spoken for at this stage.
      The C-130J is really coming into its own now, and is not due to be replaced for another 10-15 years. By that time the A400M will have been in service for a decade and will be proven.
      Cheers
      Andrew

  • The Road Runner

    says:

    Hi Andrew
    I was under the impression that only 1 white tail is spoken for.
    That being Kuwait.They would not be called “white tails” if they were going to a buyer ?

    Regards

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      I think India might have spoken for the rest, although contracts do take a while to get signed in India.
      Cheers
      Andrew

  • The Road Runner

    says:

    Hi Andrew

    India has 10 C-17 ordered on the books. This number dose not include the White tails.
    If anything i would assume the USA would swap earlier built C-17 ,for the white tails.
    The older USA C-17 would be returned to the factory and refurbished then sold on the 2nd hand market.
    I do recall reading a plan like this could be implemented to keep the C-17 line open longer.After reading Boeing statement to close the line come 2015 i wont hold my breath on that plan.

    If the white tails do go to India, there is talk that Saudi Arabia and South Korea have show interest in C-17 to.

    Cheers

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      The swap out was discussed years ago, but there is no appetite or money in the US budget for such a move at the moment. It would have made sense, especially from the viewpoint of retaining what is essentially a national asset in the production line. The C-17 line is the last large military aircraft (non-commercial derivative) production line in the US.
      Re India, the additional aircraft aren’t yet “on the books”, but I am led to believe it is the destination for the remaining ‘white tails’.
      There’s plenty of ‘talk’ about who shows interest in jets, but converting that talk into orders is another matter.
      Cheers
      Andrew

  • Raymond

    says:

    Exactly – “converting that talk into orders is another matter” – which means that given the time that India takes to make decisions and sign on the dotted line, maybe some other countries will put their money where their mouth is first!

    If India fumbles around without making a commitment, and the South Koreans and Saudis for example put down the dough, wouldn’t Boeing be willing to take it? Does India want, and can it afford, 24 C-17’s? This would run a high risk of what’s occurred with other Indian defence procurement programs – long delays and renegotiations if not cancellation.

    I just still really do wonder whether there’s a push for the RAAF to order one (or even two) more, all things considered… if not, I suppose there’s always the option of picking up surplus USAF examples in the future.

    Also, would Boeing accommodate a situation whereby a customer approached them to squeeze another airframe in before production ceases?

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