Last updated on June 14, 2020
General Electric Capital Aviation Services has delivered the first Boeing 777-300ER that is due to be converted into freighter at Israel Aerospace Industries facility in Tel-Aviv. The new program will see the fifteen years old airframe engaged into a three years CAAI/FAA STC-approved conversion development and regulatory approval process.
Richard Greener, SVP and Manager of GECAS Cargo celebrated the event stating that “We are excited to join with IAI on this program. Their proven experience, knowledge, and unique engineering skill and resources in passenger to freighter conversions — combined with our working relationship with IAI stretching back into the 1990’s —gives us the confidence to co-fund the STC Development and commit to the Program as the Launch Customer of the B777-300ERSF”
The scope of the work needed to transform the Boeing 777-300ER into a Boeing 777-300ERSF will see the complete removal of passengers seats minus four to nine supernumeraries. Then all doors will be eliminated except the first pair. This will be accompanied by the installation of window plugs and of freighter lining.
The core of the freighter transformation however will see expansive structural modification work of the floor structure in order to reinforce the fuselage in anticipation of an increase of 220,000 lbs of the Maximum Zero Fuel Weight of the aircraft. Then the installation of the 146.5 inches x120 inches main floor cargo door on the left side of the rear of the aircraft will endow the aircraft with its most important new capabilities. Then the aircraft will be fitted with a powered, or optionally a non powered cargo loading system. A 9G-capable rigid barrier system together with a 1-minute smoke detection and new environment control system ducts controlled via a main deck temperature control system are to be deployed.
In all, the 777-300ERSF will leverage on its enviable position as the world’s largest twin engine to displace the 747-400 freighters and possibly constitute a commercial risk for Boeing’s own 777LRF. In fact the new aircraft will offer a 21% lower fuel-burn per tonne than 747-400 series freighter while being capable of carrying nine more tonnes than the quad engined 747. Yet it achieves 18t to 20t more than a 777LRF, at a fraction of the cost as it is derived from used 15 years-plus airframe.
Typically a Boeing 777-300ERSF (estimated 101 tonnes payload) will be able to carry thirty three 96 in x 125 in pallets on its main deck with up to forty four LD3 containers on the lower cargo holds out to 4,500 nautical miles.
In comparison the Boeing 777LRF (92 tonnes) accomodates twenty seven 96 in x 125 in pallets on its main deck together with thrity two LD3 containers bellow deck.
As for the 747-400 Freighters series, the most capable 747-400ERF Boeing-delivered variant operates in the 100 tonnes class with thirty 96 in x 125 in pallets in the main deck and thirty two LD3 containers below deck, a number rather limited by the huge volue taken up by the 747 huge wing box and large wheel wells designs.
30 pallets 96×125 ou 88×125
16+16 LD3 wing box and wheel well
according to flightglobal.com ECAS and IAI have not yet disclosed the list price, but it is understood to be in the region of $35m per aircraft. The presence of GECAS, which has up to 30 Boeing 777-300ERs in its portfolio will secure easy access to airframe for the program, lowering overall cost and minimising risk.