Saturday, December 23, 2006

Pentagon purchasing 10 more C-17s

Pentagon purchasing more C-17s
By Robin Miller/City Editor
Article Launched:12/22/2006 06:17:57 AM PST
The U.S. government will purchase 10 more C-17 aircraft during the next few years, but how many of those planes might come to Travis Air Force Base is not yet known.

The Pentagon announced earlier this week that it would award a $2 billion contract to aircraft manufacturer Boeing for the 10 additional Globemaster III cargo jets.

According to media reports Boeing believes the additional orders coupled with current commitments will keep the company's C-17 production line in Long Beach running until late 2009.

The purchase adds to the 180 C-17 aircraft bought by the Air Force.

Travis is scheduled to receive 13 of the transport airplanes during the next several years. Its first - dubbed the "Spirit of Solano" - arrived in August. The base received its sixth C-17 on Wednesday.

But Pentagon and Air Force officials did not indicate where the additional 10 aircraft will be headed.

"It is too early in the process to be able to say if any of those would come to Travis," said Lt. Lindsay Hahn, a base spokeswoman.

In its mobility mission, Travis supports strategic airlifts that send troops, weaponry and supplies to military theaters around the globe.

The Globemaster III can carry up to 500,000 pounds - and transports everything from M-1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles to war-wounded troops. The aircraft, described as agile cargo haulers, provide the "third weapon" in Travis' arsenal, along with the massive C-5 Galaxy and the KC-10 re-fueling aircraft.

Boeing has been lobbying to sell as many as 40 more C-17s, citing the plane's high usage in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has previously warned that its Long Beach assembly plant might close after 2008 without additional orders.

The Air Force had placed a cap at 180 C-17s due to budget constraints. The last jet under that cap was scheduled to be completed in 2008.

Robin Miller can be reached at

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