The Qatar Emiri Air Force has received the first of the two C-17 Globemaster III airlifters from Boeing.

The two C-17s will provide the Qatar Air Force, the first to own the aircraft in the middle east, with tactical and strategic airlift capabilities.

Qatar’s airlift selection committee head Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Malki said tha the C-17 Qatar Emiri Air Force now has unequaled tactical and strategic airlift capabilities.

“The aircraft will enhance our ability to transport troops and equipment and to support humanitarian operations throughout the Middle East and South Asia,” Al-Malki said.

There are currently 205 C-17s in service of various air forces including US Air Force, Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Nato strategic airlift capability consortium.

This and the second aircraft due to be delivered later in 2009 have been ordered by the air force in 2008.

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Under the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership, Boeing will provide operational support.