The U.K. Royal Air Force’s seventh, and possibly final, Boeing C-17 was officially handed over to the service at the company’s Long Beach facility earlier today. The aircraft flew to the U.S. Air Force’s San Antonio Air Logistics Center at Kelly AFB, Texas for installation of the Northrop Grumman Large Aircraft IR Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system, and will be delivered to the U.K. before year-end says RAF Air Marshal Kevin Leeson, UK Chief of Materiel (Air) in Defence Equipment and Support.
ZZ177 ready for departure (all photos Guy Norris).
RAF Air Marshal Kevin Leeson watches as the aircraft taxies out for take-off.
UK 007 leaves Long Beach - with the next C-17 for the USAF - the 205th, on the delivery ramp.
The C-17 will be assigned to 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton from where it will provide airlift capability for the U.K’s Joint Rapid Reaction Force. In all, Boeing has now delivered 224 C-17s, including 20 with international customers. The U.S.AF, including active National Guard and Reserve units, has taken delivery of 204. Other customers include the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force, the United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence, the Qatar Emiri Air Force, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.