Tom Kaminski examines the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, which has proved to be a very capable airlifter.
The C-17 can perform strategic and tactical missions and is in service with eight countries as well as NATO. While the military airlifter has built up a good reputation in service, its development was not so straightforward. Work on the aircraft formally began in October 1980, when a request for proposals (RFP) for the C-X Airlift System (Cargo-Experimental) programme was released. Requirements included the ability to deliver large payloads and outsized equipment weighing up to 130,000lb (58,967kg) over intercontinental distances to main and small austere airfields as short as 3,000ft (914m).