UKMOD to buy extra C‑17 aircraft

Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron has today announced that the MOD is to order an addi­tion­al C‑17 Globe­mas­ter, tak­ing the num­ber of air­craft in the RAF’s fleet to eight.

A Roy­al Air Force C‑17 trans­port air­craft at an air base in the Mid­dle East (stock image) [Pic­ture: Sergeant Ross Tilly RAF, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Speak­ing in the House of Com­mons, Mr Cameron said: 

“Because the Min­istry of Defence’s finances are bet­ter run and bet­ter man­aged, and because we have found sav­ings, we will be able to pur­chase an addi­tion­al C‑17 for the RAF

“This air­craft is becom­ing an absolute­ly bril­liant work­horse for the RAF in terms of bring­ing men and mate­r­i­al into a war zone like Afghanistan, but also evac­u­at­ing civil­ians in times of need. 

“It’s an impor­tant invest­ment for the coun­try and I’m glad to announce we can make it today.” 

The pur­chase of an extra C‑17 will help to sup­port the air­bridge which trans­ports Armed Forces per­son­nel and equip­ment between the UK and Afghanistan. 

The newest C‑17 is cur­rent­ly being built by Boe­ing in the USA and is due to come off the pro­duc­tion line next month. It is then expect­ed to enter ser­vice with the RAF in July 2012. 

The air­craft, which will cost in the region of £200m, will be based at RAF Brize Nor­ton in Oxford­shire along with the oth­er air­craft in the fleet which are oper­at­ed by 99 Squadron. The C‑17 air­craft can fly over 4,500 nau­ti­cal miles (8,300km), mean­ing it can cov­er the dis­tance beween the UK and Hel­mand province in the one flight. 

Defence Sec­re­tary Philip Ham­mond said: 

“The C‑17 has shown its worth in Afghanistan ensur­ing that our troops are giv­en the fastest, most effi­cient pas­sage home. 

“It is a vast­ly impres­sive air­craft that can car­ry three Apache heli­copters, or take a whole Chi­nook helicopter. 

“This lat­est addi­tion to the RAF fleet will fur­ther strength­en the vital air­bridge between Britain and Afghanistan, ensur­ing crit­i­cal deliv­er­ies are made to the front line. 

“Buy­ing equip­ment off-the-shelf allows us to quick­ly deliv­er equip­ment that our troops need on oper­a­tions at best val­ue prices for the tax­pay­er and is a great exam­ple of the White Paper, announced last week, in action.” 

As well as trans­port­ing troops and equip­ment, C‑17s can also be con­vert­ed rapid­ly to offer inten­sive care pro­vi­sion in sup­port of the aeromed­ical airbridge. 

One air­craft is on stand­by 24-hours-a-day to fly seri­ous­ly injured per­son­nel back to the UK at short notice. The air­craft can also be deployed to help with human­i­tar­i­an and dis­as­ter relief efforts around the world. 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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