Boeing yesterday delivered the Qatar Emiri Air Force's second C-17 Globemaster III during a ceremony at the company's C-17 final assembly facility in Long Beach, completing Qatar's initial order for the world's most advanced airlifter.
"On behalf of the Qatar Emiri Air Force, I want to thank Boeing's C-17 work force and suppliers for a job well done," said Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Malki, head of Qatar's airlift selection committee. "The C-17s you built for Qatar will help us extend our reach when supporting humanitarian aid, disaster relief and peacekeeping missions."
The aircraft, designated Qatar 02, is registered as a military aircraft yet bears the same gray, maroon and white livery seen on government-owned Qatar Airways commercial jetliners. This unique C-17 paint scheme -- the first of its kind -- is intended to build awareness of Qatar's participation in operations around the world, Al-Malki said.
Qatar 02 will make a brief stop at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., before heading to its new home at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
"As you leave Long Beach today with the second C-17 to join your fleet, we offer you our best wishes with each and every mission," said Bob Ciesla, Boeing director of Follow-On Programs, Global Mobility Systems. "As an extended member of our C-17 family, always remember that you will have Boeing's support wherever you go, whatever the mission."
Boeing will provide operational support, including material management and depot maintenance support, under the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership.
Qatar, the first Middle East nation to order the C-17, signed an agreement with Boeing on July 21, 2008, for two advanced airlifters and associated equipment and services, with an option for two additional aircraft. Boeing delivered Qatar's first C-17 on Aug. 11.
"As a tactical and strategic airlifter, the C-17 is a perfect fit for the requirements of the Qatar Emiri Air Force," said Tommy Dunehew, Boeing Global Mobility Systems vice president of Business Development. "In addition to being able to land and take off on short, unimproved runways, it has the highest mission capability rate of any airlifter, which means it is ready to fly roughly 90 percent of the time."
There are currently 206 C-17s in service worldwide. With today's delivery, 17 have been placed with international customers. The U.S. Air Force, including active Guard and Reserve units, has 189. International customers include Qatar, the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability consortium of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. The United Arab Emirates announced on Feb. 24 that it also will acquire four C-17s.