The U.S. Air Force accepted its 57th Boeing C-17 Globemaster III cargo airplane in a brief ceremony here today. Maj. Gen. Bruce Carlson, director of Operational Requirements, Deputy Chief of Staff, Air and Space Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, flew the new airlifter to McChord Air Force Base, Wash., the C-17 fleet's newest home base.
The event marked the 45th consecutive C-17 delivered ahead of schedule, and the 11th and final C-17 delivery of 1999 by Boeing Airlift and Tanker Programs, recipient of the 1998 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
The Air Force is considering buying more C-17s in addition to the 120 already on contract.
"We submitted a proposal for 60 more last March -- offering the Air Force a price that would water their eyes," said David Spong, vice president and general manager of Airlift & Tanker.
Legislation has since been signed into law extending the current multi-year contract authority, permitting the Air Force and Boeing to work details toward further sales.
"The Air Force really likes this airplane." said Spong, "It allows them to do all the things they have to do in terms of delivering equipment and supplies to challenging places like Kosovo."
At current rates, the orders for 120 C-17s will be filled by 2004. Producing 60 more of the versatile airlifters would keep the Long Beach assembly operation open through 2008.