The Royal Air Force (RAF) has taken delivery of the seventh C-17 Globemaster III from Boeing.

The C-17, currently the world’s only tactical airlift aircraft with strategic capabilities, can fly between continents and land on short and unimproved runways.

UK Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Peter Luff said the addition of a seventh C-17 to the fleet was a significant milestone that strengthened the air force’s operations worldwide, especially in Afghanistan.

Boeing vice-president and C-17 programme manager Rick Heerdt said the C-17 provided rapid-response capability for relief missions where no other strategic airlifter would be able to land.

The C-17, assigned to 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton, will provide critical airlift capabilities for the nation’s Joint Rapid Reaction Force.

Brize Norton is the RAF’s main operating base for strategic air transport and air-to-air refuelling.