Boeing [NYSE:BA] has delivered the 90th C-17 transport aircraft to the U.S. Air Force. In a ceremony yesterday near the C-17 assembly plant in Long Beach, Calif., Howard Chambers, vice president and general manager of Boeing Airlift and Tanker Programs, presented the keys to the new C-17 Globemaster III to Gen. John P. Jumper, Air Force chief of staff.
"In today's state of world affairs, the Air Force chief of staff's very presence here speaks volumes of the critical value the C-17 represents to our nation," said Chambers.
Earlier, Jumper toured the C-17 factory and watched workers assemble airframes that soon will follow the 90th on their own delivery flights. The C-17 delivered yesterday joined the Air Force fleet more than three months ahead of the contract delivery date, a point Jumper didn't overlook in his remarks to an employee gathering.
"It was like visiting one of my own wings in the Air Force," Jumper said. "I saw pride. I saw purpose. And I saw proud people doing the nation's work in putting out a product that is unequalled and unparalleled anywhere in the world."
The C-17 changed the face of combat, flying strategic ranges and landing on tactical airfields, most recently in Afghanistan. Two weeks ago, the Air Force signed an agreement with Boeing to produce an additional 60 C-17s for $9.7 billion, extending the production run at the Long Beach site through 2008. The C-17 continues to win significant acclaim from the Pentagon and most importantly, from the military men and women who rely on it in combat.
"The 11th of September changed all of our lives," Jumper said. "On the very first night of the war, C-17 crews flew humanitarian missions unprecedented ranges and dropped food to starving people in Afghanistan. At the same time, we were getting ready to bring in C-17s in the dark of night into ill-prepared airfields, testing the full range of the capability of this wonderful machine."
Since its first flight in 1991, the C-17 fleet has amassed more than 300,000 hours. The high reliability, versatility and flexibility of the C-17 have made it the transport aircraft of choice for the U.S. military. The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence has also chosen the C-17 as its airlift flagship, with four now in service to Her Majesty's government.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $23 billion business. It provides systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.