The United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defense, and the United Kingdom Royal Air Force took delivery of respectively, their 5th and 8th Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft on May 22nd and May 18th 2012. For the UAE air arm, the new aircraft is joining four other C-17 aircraft delivered last year which are based in Abu Dhabi. Boeing also expects to deliver the last of six C-17s ordered by the UAE in 2010 during the current year.
For the UK Royal Air Force which began operating the type in May of 2001, the induction of an 8th aircraft with the 99 Squadron at Brize, Norton was highly anticipated. During its ten plus years operating the type, the RAF has continuously demonstrated the growing operational demands for the capabilities that the C-17 aircraft provides. The 74,000 accumulated flight hours shared among 7 aircraft in its fleet are reportedly exceeding projected utilization rates by 15% according to Boeing.
With the 216 aircraft delivered to the US Air Force and Air National Guard (223 orders total), the 5 aircraft delivered to the Royal Australia Air Force, the 2 aircraft in service with Qatar (2 may be ordered as options) along with another 4 with Canada’s Royal Air Force, Boeing has now delivered a total of 243 aircraft. Also recognizing the type’s 164,900 lbs payload capabilities at ranges of 2,400 nm (5,600 nm range with 102 paratroopers equivalent to 40,000 lbs payload), the Indian Air Force became the latest customer for the type when ordering 10 aircraft in 2011. Once delivered in 2013 and 2014, the IAF C-17s will provide comparatively superior capabilities over the 24 Ilyushin Il-76 currently in service.