C-17 Globemaster III

The C-17 Globemaster III is a heavy military transport aircraft. Developed by McDonnell Douglas in the 1980s.


In the late 1970s, the expansion of the tasks of the U.S. military transport aircraft and the need for the ability to quickly deploy large groupings of troops to potential front zones in Europe forced the U.S. Air Force to begin research on new military transport. The C-141 Starlifter, which was in service at that time, was not sufficiently load-carrying, and the C-5 Galaxy aircraft could not deliver cargo to the front-line zones without airfields (which, in the event of the USSR war, would probably be destroyed).

The US Air Force needed a heavy aircraft with a long flight range, capable of refueling in the air and optimized primarily for the transportation of bulky goods between theaters of operations, with their delivery directly to battle areas. This made increased demands on the take-off and landing performance and combat survivability of the new machine.

Request for Proposals for the CX program was issued to the industry in October 1980. The competition was attended by leading US aircraft companies – Boeing, Lockheed, and McDonnell Douglas. The winner of the tender was the third.

The preliminary design of the CX aircraft began in January 1982, and on December 31 of the same year, a contract worth 3.4 billion dollars was signed. for the full-scale development of the aircraft (which received the military designation C-17A) and the construction of three prototypes (one for flight and two for statistical tests).

Without waiting for the start of flight tests, another contract was signed on January 20, 1988, worth $ 604 million for the preparation for serial production and the construction of two serial aircraft. The assembly of the first of them was completed at the aircraft factory in Long Beach on December 21, 1990, and the first flight took place on May 18, 1992. In February 1993, the C-17A was named Globemaster III.

The flight test program was completed on December 15, 1994, by that time 16 serial vehicles had already been delivered to the customer – the US Air Force.

Following the initial plans of the US Air Force until 2000, 210 S-17A aircraft were to be received, while the total cost of the program was estimated at 37.1 billion dollars. at the price of one fully equipped aircraft at 125 million dollars. In 1991, the order volume was reduced to 120 aircraft, the purchase of which should be completed in fiscal 2003, and deliveries – in 2004.

Currently, the C-17 is one of the most modern military transport aircraft.


The aircraft is made according to the normal aerodynamic scheme with a large diameter fuselage, a highly located wing, and a T-shape. The glider is made mainly of aluminum alloys, the KM share is 10-15% (control surfaces, end surfaces of the wing of the landing gear, runways, and fairings).

The fuselage is a semi-monocoque type with a tail sloped upwards below which two aerodynamic ridges are located. A cargo compartment with a rear loading ramp, on which cargo weighing up to 18.1 tons can be placed in flight. The cargo compartment can accommodate an M1A1 tank, M2 / 3 infantry fighting vehicles, trucks weighing 45 tons (two in a row), jeeps ( three in a row), 155 mm self-propelled artillery mount, up to three AN-64 Apache combat helicopters, up to 18 463L containers with cargo. 54 fixed folding seats for transporting personnel were installed, an additional 48 seats (for six in a row) are planned to be stored onboard the fuselage, racks for attaching 12 stretchers are installed on the sides. The lower part of the fuselage is armored to protect against small arms. It is possible to non-stop cargo landing on platforms from extremely low altitudes with the help of exhaust parachutes (LAPES system) or throwing up to 102 paratroopers.

The typical number of crews is three people: the commander and the second pilot, whose seats are located nearby, and the operator of loading and unloading equipment, whose workplace is located on the starboard side under the raised floor of the crew cabin. Also, there are places for two observers.

Tricycle retractable chassis with hydraulic drive and the possibility of emergency release under the action of gravity. It is designed for landing at a speed of a decrease of 4.57 m / s and operation from concrete and non-concrete runways. The front strut is two-wheeled, retracts forward. The main racks are six-wheeled with two sequentially located uniaxial three-wheeled trolleys, retracted into the fairings on the sides of the fuselage. The braking system allows you to stop the aircraft, moving at a speed of 240 km / h, with a mass of 228 tons at a distance of 490 m in 14 seconds. Track 10.27 m, base 20.05 m.

Powerpoint. Four engines are located in the wing pylons of the wing gondolas. The F117-PW-100 turbofan engine of a modular design is a variant of the PW2040 civil engine (installed on a Boeing 757 aircraft).


On July 28, 2010, the US Air Force C-17 (s / n 00-0173) crashed near the Elmendorf airbase during a training flight under the Arctic Thunder Air Show training program. All 4 crew members on board died. The plane crashed near the railway, causing damage to the railway track and a break in the movement of railway transport. The reason for the stall was the pilot’s mistake. This was the first incident with a C-17 aircraft during which people died and the plane was irretrievably lost.

  • On December 9, 2003, the US Air Force C-17 (s / n 98-0057) was hit by a missile near Baghdad, Iraq. One of the engines was disabled. The pilots managed to land the plane [10].
  • On August 6, 2005, the US Air Force C-17 (s / n 01-0196) rolled out of the runway at the Bagram airbase, Afghanistan during landing, destroying the nose of the aircraft and landing gear. It took the engineers two months to prepare the plane for a flight to the factory of the manufacturer’s plant for repair. A five-day flight back to the USA was performed by a test pilot, as the partial repairs made in Afghanistan had significant flaws and the aircraft had limited controllability. It was only possible to finally fix the plane by October 2006.
  • On January 30, 2009, the US Air Force C-17 (s / n 96-0002) landed at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan with the landing gear removed.


  • Type: medium military transport aircraft
  • Powerplant: four twin-circuit turbojet engines Pratt Whitney F117-P-100 18 914 kg each
  • Maximum load: 56 tons of cargo, 144 soldiers or 102 paratroopers
  • Practical ceiling: 13,700 m
  • Range: 4,450 km
  • Maximum take-off weight: 263 t
  • Cruising speed: 804 km / h
  • Wingspan: 50.29 m
  • Wing Area: 353 sq. m
  • Length: 53.04 m
  • Height: 16.79 m
Graduated from Embry-Riddle Aviation University with a master's degree in aviation science. He began his career as an aviation researcher in local periodicals. Has a pilot license. Now are the author and developer of the Plane Worlds.