The C-17 Line Final Countdown

Boeing officials have told the Air Force that the company cannot wait beyond August to know whether the service will buy more than the 180 C-17 airlifters currently planned. Without a firm commitment, the company will have to notify its host of suppliers for raw materials and parts that C-17 work is over. According to various news reports, USAF got the ultimatum on Wednesday. The service did put seven additional C-17s at the top of its 2007 unfunded priorities list, and Congress has indicated willingness to increase the buy. The current run of 180 airlifters would keep the production line open until spring 2008, and Boeing has overseas orders that would let the line run through the end of 2008.