C-17 profile

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.

6 Comments on “C-17 profile

  1. It would be extremely short sighted to shut down our last major air transport production line and cede the upper end of the market to the A400M. (Yes, there’s the Russians and Antonov, but they have failed to garner much traction in the market). Closing the C-17 line would be dumb.

  2. These are very expensive aircraft with few potential customers outside that USAF. It’s hard to see how it could stay in production indefinitely to compete with the A400M. The USAF isn’t going to spend $2-$3 billion a year out of a $10-$15 billion aircraft procurement budget to picked up 10 airplanes at the same time it’s buying tankers, JSF, CSAR-X aircraft, etc. unless it needs the transports badly. The KC-X aircraft will account for a growing portion of freight and people transport.

  3. I’m still hopeful the kc30 for C17 trade is a possibility. hurry up and have Boeing cede their claim of all American tanker supplier and let the small improvement the A400 might bring fall.
    The only way forward, up and beyond is together. Airbus may face a bigger loss, but the C17 deal wil provide smaller profits.
    Can’t we all just get along? (with the indo/chin behemoth breathing down our western back) Asia/Pacific and the middle east are already the largest commercial aerospace markets. I can’t believe it’ll take them long to get to the military side of things. Can we really afford/ do we really want to be at each others necks. Nothing wrong with competition, but when the market indicates a winner… dare to make a choice

  4. ikkeman you theory assumes that Boeing will offer the same airframe it did last year, which is extremely unlikely, given the fact that the GAO basically called out the Air Force on their poor procurement system last year. Boeing will build their KC-X offering to the exact specs called for in the RFP, even at a short term loss, in my humble opinion. The NG/EADS consortium has even more of a disadvantage then last year, because this time, Boeing will offer a “better” aircraft, even by KC-30 advocates standards. Given the U.S. economic woes, there is even less of a chance that the Obama Administration will pick a foreign supplier over CHICAGO based Boeing.
    Aurora is right. Closing the C-17 is short sided and dumb. There are enough people in the Air Force that recognize that and are quietly telling Congress to keep the line open. The A400M, notwithstanding its current problems, is simply not in the same category as the C-17, so a comparison of the two does a disservice to EADS.
    The C-17 is considered the best military transport ever built. Its a strategic airlifter while the A400 is a tactical platform.
    I agree with Scott on this one. I see no rational to end C-17 production. Neither does Congress.

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