The Boeing Company today rolled out the first Boeing 737-700C airplane, designated as the C-40A Clipper by the U.S. Naval Reserve, at a festive celebration held at Boeing Field in Seattle.
Hundreds of Boeing employees along with U.S. Navy personnel who worked on the program attended the ceremony for their first look at the C-40A Clipper painted in U.S. Navy colors.
"We are very pleased to celebrate the premiere of the C-40 Clipper today," said Mark Rogers, director of Boeing Derivative Airplane Programs. "This airplane will serve the U.S. Naval Reserve well, and we look forward to providing the government with many more 737 Next-Generation airplanes in the future."
The U.S. Naval Reserve, which will operate and maintain the aircraft, is the first customer for the newest member of the Boeing Next-Generation 737 family and is purchasing the aircraft to replace its fleet of aging C-9 Skytrains. Currently, the Naval Reserve provides 100 percent of the Navy's worldwide in-theater medium and heavy airlift.
"Nearly 25 percent of our C-9s are more than 30 years old," said Rear Adm. John Totushek, Commander of Naval Reserve Forces. "We are excited about having the Clipper join our fleet and eventually replace all 27 of our C-9 aircraft."
Once the transition to the C-40A is complete, the Naval Reserve is expected to save more than $27 million per year in fuel and maintenance costs.
The military version of the 737-700C aircraft will be certified to operate in an all-passenger (121 passengers), all-cargo or combination (combi) configuration that will accommodate up to three cargo pallets and 70 passengers on the main deck.
A commercial version will be certified to operate in two configurations: an all-passenger configuration and an all-cargo layout that can carry up to eight pallets.
The C-40A made its first flight on April 14, upon entering its flight test program. This fall, the aircraft will be delivered to Boeing in Wichita, Kan., for modifications that will allow it to be flown in the combi configuration.
The Navy is purchasing the airplanes using commercial practices and has ordered five of the 737-700C models. A sixth aircraft is in the U.S. defense budget for 2001.
The first four aircraft will be based at Naval Air Station Carswell Joint Reserve Base, Ft. Worth, Texas, with the first to be delivered in early 2001. The fifth and sixth aircraft will be based at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.