Defense Industry Daily has a superb profile of the Boeing C-17. It’s timely because Boeing is ramping up efforts to convince Congress to fund more C-17s over opposition of the Air Force and the Obama Administration.
We think Boeing is right: with aging C-5As and C-5Bs (especially the former), replacements are needed long-term. Although the C-17 is smaller than the C-5, it’s an off-the-shelf airplane. The Air Force may not want any more C-17s now (perhaps due to budget constraints) but buying the airplanes now will be cheaper than in the future, particularly if the C-17 line were to shut down in 2011 as currently will be the case without more orders from the USAF or non-US customers.