Boeing has completed production of the final C-17 Globemaster III military airlifter to be delivered to the Qatar Emiri Air Force, marking the completion of the aircraft programme at the company’s plant in Long Beach, California, US.
The delivery of the final of the high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed military transport vehicle, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military airlifter is scheduled for early 2016.
However, Boeing will continue to provide support, maintenance and upgrades to the worldwide C-17 fleet under the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics agreement.
Boeing C-17 programme manager and vice-president Nan Bouchard said: "This is truly the end of an era.
"It’s a sad day, but one that all of the Boeing employees and suppliers who have worked over the years building this great aircraft can be proud of.
"Our team’s work and dedication and professionalism created one of the world’s leading airlifters, a plane that is at the forefront for providing humanitarian aid and has changed the way the US Air Force (USAF) and our international partners mobilise for operations and aeromedical support."
Since its inception in 1991, the C-17 fleet has been supporting airlift of troops and large cargo, precision airdrop of humanitarian supplies and lifesaving aeromedical missions for the USAF and its international partners.
In March 2007, Boeing announced C-17 production would conclude in 2009, upon fulfilling the current orders. However the decision was revoked upon approval of the purchase of 15 additional aircraft for the USAF leading to further postponement.
The final decision to end production of the C-17 production programme was announced in 2013.
The C-17 fleet are currently under operation at countries including the UK, India, Australia, Qatar and Canada.