C-17 Globemaster III - Operations
The combination of C-17 Globemaster IIIs and C-5s compiled 11,400 sorties during the Operation Iraqi Freeddom build-up. C-5s flew about 900 fewer sorties than the Globemasters, but hauled about 11,500 more tons and 5,300 more passengers. C-5s hauled an average of 53.8 tons per sortie, compared with an average 33.1 tons by the smaller C-17.
The most reliable airlifter was the C-17, which entered the fleet in the mid-1990s. The C-17's mission capable rate dropped to 86.7 percent in February but averaged 88 percent during the four-month period ending in April, compared with the C-5's average rate of 67.5 percent.
Despite the high sortie rates, the deployment was nearly accident-free for the Air Force's biggest airlifters. C-17s sustained seven minor mishaps and the C-5s reported four incidents, but no airlifters crashed or sustained more than $1 million in damage. Overall, coalition forces lost 20 manned aircraft during the war, including six helicopters and one A-10A downed by enemy fire.
For the first time, C-17s fulfilled a promised capability to deliver heavy Army units directly into a combat zone. OIF included the "first airland delivery by a C-17 of a combat loaded M1A1 main battle tank direct to immediate combat employment," an AMC official said. "In April, the 362nd Aerospace Expeditionary Group, Rhein-Main [Air Base] Germany, flew five M-1 tanks, five M-2 Bradleys [and] 15 M-113 Armored Personnel Carriers from Ramstein to Bashur, (Iraq)."
In a highly publicized event, C-17s also recorded the first drop of a large Army unit, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, which parachuted into northern Iraq. The conflict also introduced the first low-altitude combat airdrop by a C-17. On 27 September 2021 The Boeing Co., Long Beach, California, was awarded a $3,464,266,341 firm-fixed-price, fixed-price incentive (firm target), cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost reimbursement-no fee and time-and-material, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Program. The period of performance is nine years and eight months, consisting of three 12-month ordering periods, two 37-month options, and the six-month option to extend services, for a total maximum value of $23,764,751,000.
This contract will provide support and sustainment services to the government product support manager/product support integrator for the C-17 weapon system. Support includes, but is not limited to: program management; sustaining logistics; material and equipment management; sustaining engineering; quality assurance; depot level aircraft maintenance and modifications; F117 propulsion system management; long-term sustainment planning; field services, unique foreign military customer services and Air Logistics Center partnering support for the worldwide fleet of the C-17 aircraft. Work will be performed in multiple domestic and international locations and is expected to be completed by May 30, 2031, if all options are exercised.
The contract involves Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, NATO Airlift Management Program Office, India, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. No-year FMS funds in the amount of $5,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award. There is known congressional interest pertaining to this acquisition. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8526-21-D-0001).
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