Has Algeria secretly taken delivery of a Boeing C-17 airlifter? No

Local witnesses said a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter was delivered to the Algerian Air Force. But it was a Qatari cargo.

Updated Dec. 16, 12.00 GMT

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter, sporting what initially believed to be the roundel of the Algerian Air Force, arrived in Algiers, on Dec. 10, according to Secret Difa 3, a blog focusing on defense topics in the Maghreb region.

The report is based on the testimonies of some locals who have seen the giant cargo land at the Houari Boumediene airport at 5:09PM LT.

However, the same source later found that the airlifter belonged to the Qatari Emiri Air Force.

Anyway, Algeria has never hidden its intention to acquire some C-17s (six to eight) in order to renew its fleet of transport aircraft and, according IHS Jane’s, last year Algerian authorities were in the early stages of negotiations with the company for a number of different types of aircraft, including the Globemaster.

In April 2013, a C-17 of the 446th Airlift Wing has undergone extensive testing in Algeria, including landing at the highest Algerian airfield in Tamanrasset, in the south of the country.

The interest of Al Quwwat aljawwiya aljaza’eriiya in the C-17 is a sign that after procuring Su-30MKA, Mig-29S and Yak-130A jets and upgrading the existing fleet of Su-24s, Mig-25s and Mi-24s, Algeria is planning to upgrade its inventory with aircraft able to support anti-terrorism and border surveillance tasks across the country.

Image credit: Christopher A. Ebdon

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a 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 five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Does Algeria have a legitimate need for the long-range, strategic airlift a C-17 provides? A C-135 would fit their circumstances far better. They could buy five of them for the cost of a single C-17 ($218 million v. $40 million).

    Something isn’t quite right here. A C-17’s range and carrying capacity is of limited use on their own territory, particularly for “border surveillance.” But it would let them meddle militarily in most of Africa, flying in troops and even armored vehicles. Do we really want that?

    And why would they want six to eight of them? The much larger UK, with its global obligations, only has eight. Australia has six and Canada has only four.


    • They already have Soviet/Russian Candid and Midas planes and they use them. Algeria has a territory of nearly 2.5M sqm, and they do need such transport.
      Just remember the number of T-90 and T-72 transported quickly in the hostage crisis last year -1/2013-
      Of course the question you ask is nonetheless very actual.

    • If you offered nuclear weapons to the bushmen of South Africa, they’d come up with a reason that they’d consider legit. Nobody says no to modern military capabilities. There’s always the need. It’s the bill that’s balked at.

    • Both Canada and Australia are under no threat. Algeria, a large country, is in troubled waters with the Sahel conflicts thanks to NATO. Therefore, the logistics needed to move troops and armaments is different let alone the need to refresh its transport aircrafts.

  2. It wasn’t a local C-17. It was a Qatari one.
    The statement was announced in the same blog as erratum.

    • Elle a raison. Was a Quatari Globemaster and someone confused the roundels. My father in law to be confuses them too and thinks the roundels on my Brit plane models all French, even though in reverse colours. I still gain my Brownie points – asking my dad to bring him a bottle of Norn Irish Black Bush helped too. Maybe it was a colour blind spotter.

  3. Would the A400M not suit Algeria better? Arguably a more impressive aircraft with the range and also has only just started production. Whereas C17a is coming to the end of its production run…
    Have Airbus done any testing in Algeria?

    • Yes they did. I believe the need is mainly for desert/sandy areas so i am not sure the A400M fared well in that environment.
      The existing midas have done pretty well but are getting old, too old despite some refurbishment. Another option for the Algerian air force is the new IL-476.

      The Algerian defense is very secretive indeed as noted in the article.

  4. If they want a globe master they better order it really quickly. Once the plant shuts down they can’t really build anymore, and the plant has already started work on the last one.

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