The UAE Air Force is to receive six C-17 Globemaster III advanced aircraft under a sustainment partnership contract signed with Boeing.

Under the agreement, Boeing will deliver four C-17s in 2011 and two in 2012, as well as provide all C-17 sustainment activities, including material management and depot maintenance support.

Major general staff pilot Faris Mohamed Al Mazrouei said the C-17 would give the UAE the ability to perform a variety of humanitarian and strategic lift operations around the world in support of both national and international missions.

“These missions require us to be ready for any contingency at any time and any place, and the C-17 meets our requirements,” he said.

Boeing Global Mobility Systems Business Development vice-president Tommy Dunehew said in addition to being able to land and take-off on short, unimproved runways, it has the highest mission capability rate of any airlifter.

With a flying capability of 2,400nm, the C-17 airlifts large combat equipment, troops or humanitarian aid and transports them directly to small austere airfields anywhere in the world.

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The C-17 has a full payload of 170,000lb and can land on runways of 3,000ft.