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Navy Takes Delivery of its Newest C-40A Clipper Aircraft

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS111027-28

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ron Kuzlik, Commander Fleet Logistics Support Wing Public Affairs

WICHITA, Kansas (NNS) -- The Navy took delivery of the 12th C-40A Clipper transport aircraft from Boeing in a ceremony Oct. 21.

Rear Adm. Bryan Cutchen, deputy chief of Navy Reserve and Capt. Pat Barrett, commodore, Commander Fleet Logistics Support Wing (CFLSW) received the ceremonial keys from Steve Wade, general manager of Boeing Global Transport and Executive Systems.

"The C-40A combines Boeing Commercial Airplanes' best-selling 737 with Boeing Defense, Space & Security's modification expertise," Wade said. "This aircraft increases the Navy's capability for rapid response worldwide, and we're looking forward to continuing to enhance the fleet with as many aircraft as the Navy requires."

The C-40A is a military derivative of the 737-700 commercial airliner with a main-deck cargo door that was modified at Boeing's Wichita facility for troop and cargo transport missions. Since the first delivery to the Navy in April 2001, the C-40A continues to be phased in to replace the Navy's aging fleet of C-9B Skytrains.

"The global reach and persistent presence of forward-stationed and rotational naval forces are made possible by Navy Unique Fleet Essential Airlift (NUFEA) and the fuel-efficient C-40A delivers this important capability reliably and at a lower cost," Cutchen said. "This new aircraft will help the Navy meet our current challenges today and helps us build a relevant and capable future force."

A crew from the "Conquistadors" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 57 (VR-57) flew the inaugural flight of aircraft 166696.

Aircraft commander Lt. Cmdr. Todd Shipman, co-pilot and prospective VR-57 executive officer Cmdr. Garett Edmonds, crew chief Chief Naval Air Crewman (NAC/AW) Rick Galpal, loadmaster Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class (NAC/AW) Shawn Halbritter, and 2nd Loadmaster Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class (NAC/AW) Marcus Dantono flew the three hour flight from the Boeing facility in Wichita to Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, San Diego, Calif.

"The flight crew was very professional and knowledgeable in dealing with Boeing," said Halbritter. "Maintenance triple-checked every piece and accounted for the aircraft and credited Boeing for the amazing job they did turning the airplane over to the Navy."

Currently, the "Conquistadors" of VR-57, the "Sunseekers" of VR-58 at NAS Jacksonville, Fla., and the "Lonestar Express" of VR-59 at NAS Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, operate four Clippers each.

The Clipper flies the Navy unique fleet essential airlift (NUFEA) mission, providing high-priority cargo and passenger airlift for the U.S. Navy fleet worldwide.

The C-40A is certified to operate in three configurations: all passenger configuration of 121 passengers, all cargo configuration (up to eight pallets), or a combination configuration of 70 passengers and up to three pallets.

"As this aircraft is put into service, it enables the Navy Reserve to continue to provide on-time, efficient worldwide fleet support operations," said Capt. John Gorman, deputy commodore, Commander Fleet Logistics Support Wing. "We fully expect this asset to pay for itself through direct cost avoidance, all the while maintaining reliable, efficient operations that truly embody the Navy Reserve Force motto of 'Ready now. Anytime. Anywhere."

Fleet Logistics Support Wing has no counterpart in the active force. Its mission represents 100 percent of the Navy's intra-theater air logistics capability. The VR mission extends around the globe to Europe, the Western Pacific, Southwest Asia, South America, the Mediterranean, and Africa. Fleet Logistics Support Wing continues to play an active and vital role in making the Navy an effective and mobile arm in support of the nation's defense.

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