C-17 Cargo Aircraft – A Brief Overview of the Technical Specifications

C-17 cargo aircraft manufactured by Boeing is a T-tailed military transport aircraft which can carry heavy equipment, supplies and also troops straight to small and remote airfields located in rough terrain anywhere on the globe, during daytime or nighttime. This multi-service massive and rugged transport aircraft incorporates 4 engines with 40,440 pounds thrust each, high wings with simple-hinged, double-slotted, fixed-vaned flaps and it has a length of 174 feet, 55,1 feet height at tail and 22,5 feet fuselage diameter. The wingspan is 169,8 feet and the wing area is 3,800 square feet. Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a long-haul transport aircraft which was originally manufactured for the US Air Force By McDonnell Douglas during 1980 -1990. The first flight of C-17 cargo aircraft took place on September 15th, 1991 and was named Globemaster III in 1993. In the early 1990s, Boeing merged with McDonnell and it still manufactures this aircraft for export customers, including UK, Quatar, Australia, India, Canada and UAE.

US Air Force declared the first C-17 cargo aircraft squadron as operational in January 1995. This massive, high-wing military transport aircraft has operated in various military, peacekeeping and humanitarian missions worldwide, including strategic airlift missions, tactical airlift, airdrop duties and medical evacuation. Its ability to fly long distances (over 2,400 nautical miles) and to land in land-locked and harsh areas all over the world make it a leading cargo aircraft. C-17cargo aircraft is able to take off from a 7,600 feet airfield, to carry a payload of 170,900 lb of cargo, to refuel while in flight and to land in less than 3,000 feet on a small airfield. The maximum takeoff weight is 585,000 lb. This massive cargo aircraft (empty weight 282,500 lb) can drop a single 60,000 lb payload, followed by sequential load drops of 110,000 lb each, 60 feet of platforms, back up a two percent slope and has a cargo floor length of 68,2 feet. The airfcraft crew consists of 3:2 pilots and the cargo compartment crew is one loadmaster.

The capacity of Boeing C-17 cargo aircraft consists of 102 paratroopers and 158 troops with both palletized and sidewall seating or 53 troops with sidewall seating, which allows 13 cargo pallets or total capability (contingency) 54 ambulatory patients and 36 litter or cargo (M1 Abrams tank) or three Strykers. The C-17 cargo aircraft seating includes the following configuration: sidewall ( permanently installed)- 54 seats, 27 each side; centerline, stored on board – 48 seats (8 sets of six each); palletized (10-passenger pallets) – 80 seats, on 8 pallets and 54 passengers on sidewall seats. The aeromedical evacuation consists of the following specifications: litter stations, on board, three litter each and nine litter stations as additional kit. The ramp structural length is 21,4 feet, the ramp to ground angle is 9 degrees and the ramp capacity is 40,000 lb. The capacity of the aerial delivery system is eleven 463L pallets and two on ramp and the logistic rail system capacity is eighteen pallets, including four on ramp. The combat offload consists of all pallets from logistic rail systems or ADS and the dual-row airdrop system is up to 12 463L pallets. The navigation system of C-17 cargo aircraft incorporates digital electronics and communication is achieved with an integrated radio system with COSA (communications system open architecture).

C-17 cargo aircraft has broken so far 22 records for the ability to carry oversized payloads. It received the most prestigious award of the US aviation, the Collier Trophy, in 1994. It continues to be used for delivering military supplies and humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and Iraq and it also supports NATO missions in Afghanistan and Special Operations Forces use. A C-17 Globemaster III accompanies the US President to his foreign and domestic consultations and arrangements. By April 2011, there had been 230 C-17s manufactured and delivered, including 210 to US Air Force. On September 14th, 2012 Boeing delivered the US Air Force the 218th C-17 cargo aircraft at its California final assembly facility.