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The C-17 Globemaster III is the newest, most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force. The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. The aircraft can perform tactical airlift and airdrop missions and can also transport litters and ambulatory patients during aeromedical evacuations when required. The inherent flexibility and performance of the C-17 force improve the ability of the total airlift system to fulfill the worldwide air mobility requirements of the United States.

The ultimate measure of airlift effectiveness is the ability to rapidly project and sustain an effective combat force close to a potential battle area. Threats to U.S. interests have changed in recent years, and the size and weight of U.S.-mechanized firepower and equipment have grown in response to improved capabilities of potential adversaries. This trend has significantly increased air mobility requirements, particularly in the area of large or heavy outsize cargo. As a result, newer and more flexible airlift aircraft are needed to meet potential armed contingencies, peacekeeping or humanitarian missions worldwide. The C-17 is capable of meeting today’s demanding airlift missions.

Reliability and maintainability are two outstanding benefits of the C-17 system. Current operational requirements impose demanding reliability and maintainability. These requirements include an aircraft mission completion success probability rate of 92 percent, only 20 aircraft maintenance man-hours per flying hour, and full and partial mission availability rates of 74.7 and 82.5 percent, respectively. The Boeing warranty assures these figures will be met.

The C-17 measures 174 feet long (53 meters) with a wingspan of 169 feet, 10 inches (51.75 meters). The aircraft is powered by four, fully reversible, Federal Aviation Administration-certified F117-PW-100 engines (the military designation for the commercial Pratt & Whitney PW2040), currently used on the Boeing 757. Each engine is rated at 40,440 pounds of thrust. The thrust reversers direct the flow of air upward and forward to avoid ingestion of dust and debris. Maximum use has been made of off-the-shelf and commercial equipment, including Air Force-standardized avionics.

The aircraft is operated by a crew of three (pilot, copilot and loadmaster), reducing manpower requirements, risk exposure and long-term operating costs. Cargo is loaded onto the C-17 through a large aft door that accommodates military vehicles and palletized cargo. The C-17 can carry virtually all of the Army’s air-transportable equipment.

Maximum payload capacity of the C-17 is 170,900 pounds (77,519 kilograms), and its maximum gross takeoff weight is 585,000 pounds (265,352 kilograms). With a payload of 169,000 pounds (76,657 kilograms) and an initial cruise altitude of 28,000 feet (8,534 meters), the C-17 has an unrefueled range of approximately 2,400 nautical miles. Its cruise speed is approximately 450 knots (.76 Mach). The C-17 is designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers and equipment.

The design of the aircraft allows it to operate through small, austere airfields. The C-17 can take off and land on runways as short as 3,500 feet (1,064 meters) and only 90 feet wide (27.4 meters). Even on such narrow runways, the C-17 can turn around using a three-point star turn and its backing capability.

The C-17 made its maiden flight on Sept. 15, 1991, and the first production model was delivered to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., June 14, 1993. The first squadron of C-17s, the 17th Airlift Squadron, was declared operationally ready Jan. 17, 1995. The Air Force originally programmed to buy a total of 120 C-17s, with the last one being delivered in November 2004. Current budget plans involve purchasing 190 aircraft.

The original 120 C-17s were based at Charleston AFB; McChord AFB, Wash., (first aircraft arrived in July 1999); Altus AFB, Okla.; and at an Air National Guard unit in Jackson, Miss. In August 2005, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., began basing the first of eight aircraft. In February 2006, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, received its first C-17.

The C-17 is operated by the Air Mobility Command at the 60th Airlift Wing and the 349th Air Mobility Wing (Associate Reserve) at Travis AFB, Calif.; 62nd Airlift Wing and 446th Airlift Wing (Associate Reserve) at McChord AFB, Wash.; 437th Airlift Wing and 315th Airlift Wing (Associate Reserve) at Charleston AFB, S.C.; the 305th Air Mobility Wing, McGuire AFB, N.J.; and the 172nd Airlift Wing, Mississippi ANG. Additionally, Air Force Materiel Command operates two C-17s at Edwards AFB, Calif., and Pacific Air Forces operates eight aircraft each at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska and Hickam AFB, Hawaii (Associate Guard). The Air Force Reserve Command operates eight aircraft at March Air Reserve Base, Calif; and Air Education and Training Command has 12 aircraft at Altus AFB, Okla.

General Characteristics
Primary Function: Cargo and troop transport
Prime Contractor: Boeing Company
Power Plant: Four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines
Thrust: 40,440 pounds, each engine
Wingspan: 169 feet 10 inches (to winglet tips) (51.75 meters)
Length: 174 feet (53 meters)
Height: 55 feet 1 inch (16.79 meters)
Cargo Compartment: length, 88 feet (26.82 meters); width, 18 feet (5.48 meters); height, 12 feet 4 inches (3.76 meters)
Speed: 450 knots at 28,000 feet (8,534 meters) (Mach .76)
Service Ceiling: 45,000 feet at cruising speed (13,716 meters)
Range: Global with in-flight refueling
Crew: Three (two pilots and one loadmaster)
Aeromedical Evacuation Crew: A basic crew of five (two flight nurses and three medical technicians) is added for aeromedical evacuation missions. Medical crew may be altered as required by the needs of patients
Maximum Peacetime Takeoff Weight: 585,000 pounds (265,352 kilograms)
Load: 102 troops/paratroops; 36 litter and 54 ambulatory patients and attendants; 170,900 pounds (77,519 kilograms) of cargo (18 pallet positions)
Unit Cost: Unit Cost: 2.3 million (fiscal 1998 constant dollars)
Date Deployed: June 1993
Inventory: Active duty, 158; Air National Guard, 8; Air Force Reserve, 8

MEDFLAG 09: U.S. Army Africa Partnership strengthens ties with partners in Swaziland 090813
Air Force Benefits
Image by US Army Africa

United States Army Africa

MEDFLAG 09: Partnership strengthens ties and friendships

By Staff Sgt. Lesley Waters
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs

MANZINI, Swaziland – Partnership was the key to success during MEDFLAG 09, a U.S. Army Africa exercise held this August that benefited thousands of people in Swazi villages.

That partnership was built on cooperation between the U.S. military and government of Swaziland, said Maj. Gen. William B. Garrett III, commander of U.S. Army Africa.

“Our pledge is to continue to serve side-by-side with our national and international partners to promote security, stability and peace in Africa, and of course in Swaziland,” Garrett said. “MEDFLAG 09 has been an important demonstration of our commitment to our African and partnered nations.”

The exercise included the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force, the Swaziland Ministry of Health, U.S. Army Africa and U.S. Africa Command.

Swazi medical staff got firsthand tips from U.S. medical officers. Meanwhile, the U.S. troops learned how to overcome the challenges to offering healthcare in rural African villages, Garrett said.

At a medical professional exchange, a dozen Swazi military and civilian medics took part in a seminar with U.S. medical officers – sharing ideas that build capacity to work together in the future. Through “first responder” mentoring, 25 Swazi medics from the USDF and the health ministry gained important tools that can help them in a crisis.

Overall, 16 Swazi medics, both military and civilians, took part in joint medical missions in local communities that helped Swazi people in need.

“Our Soldiers learned important lessons about how to operate in Africa, while the Swazi medical staff increased their capabilities through our interaction,” Garrett said. “As an added benefit, the people of Swaziland received quality care from this partnership effort.”

During the two-week exercise, roughly 2,400 medical and dental treatments were performed during visits to Swazi villages. At veterinary clinics, nearly 10,500 animals received treatment.

While in Swaziland, Garrett visited the joint U.S.-Swazi medical teams and spoke at the closing ceremony, held Aug. 14 at USDF headquarters.

“American and Swazi medics worked side-by-side to improve our readiness and enhance our ability to work together in combined medical operations,” Garrett said.
U.S. and Swazi teams carried out six veterinary civil assistance projects (VETCAPs), including a two-day visit to Hhohho Village in Zinyane Province, one-day at Shiselweni Village in Mkhwakhweni Province, one day at Manzini Village in Matufseni Province and a two-day visit in Lubombo Village in Maloma Province. During the VETCAPs, the veterinary team treated 6,792 cattle, 3,381 goats, 195 sheep, 195 dogs, one horse and one pig.

They also operated and successfully removed a benign tumor growing on the throat of a cow on the first day of VETCAPs.

“It was an unexpected surprise,” said U.S. Army Maj. Michael Simpson, of the Fort Dix, New Jersey-based 404th Civil Affairs Battalion, who was leading veterinary efforts during MEDFLAG 09. “Even though the tumor was benign it was near the throat. If it continued growing, it would have cut off the cow’s air passage and it would have suffocated.”

As the U.S. and Swazi veterinary teams treated the Swaziland livestock, medical and dental teams treated the local villagers.

The medical teams, which consisted of members from the 212th Combat Support Hospital, the U.S. Army Center for Health and Preventive Medicine and the 21st Sustainment Command, treated 1,519 patients during the six medical civil assistance projects (MEDCAPs).

“We saw patients who had everything from the basic cold to an elderly woman who had a goiter,” said 2nd Lt. Matthew McCreery, MEDFLAG 09’s executive officer.

The dental team, which consisted of members from the 920th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Patrick AFB, Fla.; 59th Medical Wing, Wilford Medical Hall, Texas; and 212th CSH, treated 262 patients and extracted 273 teeth during the six dental civil assistance projects (DENCAPs).

“We were able to gain the trust of the Swazi villagers,” said Air Force Col. Dean Whitman, oral and maxillofacial surgeon. “Conducting these sorts of missions is important so the Swazis know we have good intentions and our primary concern is to help.”

During MEDFLAG 09, both U.S. and Swazi personnel conducted classes on disaster medical planning and operations, a mass casualty exercise and humanitarian and civic outreach to local communities. Classes included first responder familiarization, disaster relief, preventive medicine and tropical medicine.

“The health of the Swazi people and their livestock is clearly very important,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Michael Money, co-director of MEDFLAG 09. “It is our distinct privilege to have worked side-by-side with our new found friends from the USDF and the Ministry of Health, to deliver medical and veterinary care in all four regions of this beautiful land.”

Cleared for public release.

Photos by Air Force Staff Sgt. Lesley Waters. CJTF-HOA Public Affairs

PHOTO CAPTION: Army Maj. Michael McDonald, 212th Combat Support Hospital physician, checks a patient during the second of a two-day combined medical and dental civil assistance project (MEDCAP and DENCAP) as part of exercise MEDFLAG 09 in Lubombo Village, Swaziland on Aug. 13.

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