Boeing held a ceremony on Nov. 29 marking the departure of the final Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military airlifter from the company's plant in Long Beach, California, and the official end of aircraft production in Long Beach.
The airlifter flew over a crowd and the facility before heading to the company's San Antonio, Texas, location, where it will remain until delivery to the Qatar Emiri Air Force early in 2016, according to Boeing.
With the completion of C-17 production, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney will continue providing support, maintenance and upgrades to the worldwide C-17 fleet under the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics agreement. Pratt & Whitney's F117-PW-100 engine is the military version of the PW2000 commercial engine and the exclusive power plant for the C-17.
"This is truly the end of an era. It's a sad day, but one that all of the Boeing employees and suppliers who have worked over the years building this great aircraft can be proud of," said Nan Bouchard, vice president and C-17 program manager, Boeing.
"Our team's work and dedication and professionalism created one of the world's leading airlifters, a plane that is at the forefront for providing humanitarian aid and has changed the way the U.S. Air Force and our international partners mobilize for operations and aeromedical support," Bouchard said.
The decision to end production of the C-17 production program was announced in 2013. Since the first C-17 took to the air on Sept. 15, 1991, the C-17 fleets for the U.S. Air Force and international partners have logged more than 3 million flying hours supporting airlift of troops and large cargo, precision airdrop of humanitarian supplies and lifesaving aeromedical missions.
"Since we delivered our very first F117 engine, we've worked closely with Boeing, the U.S. Air Force, and our international customers to ensure the engines performed as expected, no matter the mission requirements," said Bev Deachin, vice president, Mobility Programs & Customer Support for Pratt & Whitney Military Engines. "We are very proud to power the amazing C-17 aircraft, and we are committed to delivering affordable readiness to our customers for decades to come."
The F117 is certified at 40,400 pounds of thrust, and with four F117 engines powering each C-17, this aircraft can carry a payload of 160,600 pounds, take off from a 7,600-foot airfield, and fly 2,400 nautical miles unrefueled. The C-17 aircraft has in-flight refueling capability, and can also land on small austere airfields of 3,000 feet or less.
Unique to the C-17, the F117 engines are equipped with a directed-flow thrust reverser capable of being deployed in flight. On the ground, the thrust reverser can back a fully-loaded aircraft up a two-degree slope. Today's F117 engine uses technical and material advancements such as second-generation single-crystal turbine materials, improved cooling management and thermal barrier coatings to lower operating temperatures. These enhancements contribute to the F117's excellent reliability, durability and long time on-wing. A Full-Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) with greater capacity delivers higher operational performance, lower fuel burn and improved maintenance diagnostics.
Pratt & Whitney will deliver its final F117 engine during a ceremony at its Middletown, Connecticut, engine facility in January 2016.
Source: Pratt & Whitney, A United Technologies Company (NYSE:UTX)
Date: Dec 4, 2015