The famous C-17 gear up landing at Bagram and the need for more Globemasters

I’ve recently published the pictures of the C-17 performing a gear up landing at Bagram, Afghanistan (to read the post click here:http://cencio4.wordpress.com/2009/02/09/c-17-gear-up-landing-in-bagram-images/). I don’t know if the damages on the transport aircraft are beyond repair, but for sure the C-17 involved in the crash landing will not be available for some time.
A few days after I published the images, an interesting article about the status of the C-17 was published at http://www.strategypage.com/. According to the article, the USAF has ordered another batch of 15 C-17, worth USD 194 million each to support the fleet that is currently being exploited in Afghanistan and Iraq in the war on terror. The C-17s are constantly tasked to deliver personnel and equipment worldwide and some of them will reach the limit of their operative lifetime (30.000 flight hours) within 5 or 10 years. The heavy workload, operations on unprepared airfields and landing strips (it can be interesting to notice that the Globemaster has been operating on the same rough fields where the Italian Air Force lands with the smaller C-27J or the C-130J), and attritions (like the Bagram incident) have considerably reduced fleet and the useful life of the C-17. Noteworthy, the C-17s have been called to replace the C-141s that were retired earlier than expected (the phase out of the Starlifter was scheduled for 2010) and they are strugglying to satisfy the US transport needs. “Originally, there were to be 120 C-17s (at $135 million each), with production ending in 2004. After September 11, 2001, it was realized that more air transports would be needed, and the production run of the C-17 was increased to 180. It was then proposed to increase it again to 222 aircraft. But logistics planners insist that 300 will be needed, if wartime needs are to be met. Moreover, the rapid deterioration of the early model C-17s means that eventually 350, or more, will have to be built to maintain a fleet of 300 transports. So far, 190 have been ordered, including 14 sold to foreign customers”.

About David Cenciotti 3791 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.