USAF Lets C-17 Contract

The Air Force on Tuesday awarded Boeing a $1.5 billion contract for eight C-17 transports, bringing to 213 the total number of C-17s that the service has ordered so far. Congress provided the money for these eight aircraft in 2009 war supplemental legislation. To date, Congress has appropriated funds for the Air Force to procure a total of 223 C-17s, including 10 still not under contract. Funding for those remaining aircraft was included in Fiscal 2010 defense legislation. The Air Force and Pentagon leadership have said they do not want any C-17s beyond 223; in fact, Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week reiterated his threat to recommend that President Obama veto any defense legislation that comes across his desk with money for more Globemaster IIIs. Thus far, Congress has not inserted funds for more C-17s in the Fiscal 2011 defense bills. (DOD June 22 contract announcements)