On to the Great White North

Boeing delivered the fourth C-17 transport aircraft to the Canadian Forces during a ceremony April 3 at the aircraft’s assembly plant in Long Beach, Calif., according to a company release that same day. The delivery completes Canada’s order. Following final modifications in San Antonio, Tex., the aircraft will join 429 Transport Squadron at 8 Wing/Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ontario, home to the other three Canadian C-17s. Canada is the third international C-17 customer, following Australia and Britain. Australia has taken delivery of its four C-17s, and the British have four of the six they have ordered. The fifth is undergoing modifications in San Antonio and the six is being assembled. USAF has 190 C-17s on order and has requested 15 more in its Fiscal 2009 unfunded requirements list. To date, it has taken delivery of 171 C-17s, Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz, commander of US Transportation Command, told a House oversight panel April 1. Barring new orders, the last C-17 will roll off the production line in August 2009. “There are Gulf nations that have expressed interest probably in excess of four and the NATO allies have indicated an interest in three,” Schwartz said. “It is absolutely clear to me that there is an appetite for these machines outside the DOD procurement profile and it requires aggressive marketing on behalf of the manufacturer to see that those opportunities are realized.”